By: Kyle James | 06-06-2018 | News
Photo credit: University of Georgia

Conjoined Deer Fawns Have Scientists Scratching Their Heads

Scientists had to do a double-take, literally, when they saw a baby fawn with two heads. The conjoined deer were discovered by a Minnesota man looking for mushrooms, they were stillborn when he found them. They were found near Freeburg, Minnesota within one mile from the Mississippi River and appeared to be recently deceased.

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A researcher who studies deer named Gino D'Angelo of the University of Georgia said the animals appeared to have been deceased recently and were clean and dry when they were found. D'Angelo said he believes the deer were the first pair of conjoined fawns to reach full term and survive delivery by their mother, the University of Georgia said in a statement.

The only other known examples of conjoined fawns were found in utero and scientists are calling these stillborn fawns a marvel of science. D’Angelo said, "It’s amazing and extremely rare. We can’t even estimate the rarity of this. Of the tens of millions of fawns born annually in the U.S., there are probably abnormalities happening in the wild we don’t even know about."

University of Minnesota’s veterinary diagnostic laboratory performed a series of necropsy, MRI, and CT scans on the body and found that the female fans had shared one body but had their own heads and necks. When the fawns lungs were removed and placed in water, they sank straight away which confirmed the fawns never got a chance to breathe air.

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Researchers at the University also found the two fawns had separate gastrointestinal tracts but only one of them actually connected to the anus. Two hears and extra spleens were also found but only one liver was found to share between them and even it was malformed. Sadly the fawns were birthed and cleaned up by their mother who did her best.

"Their anatomy indicates the fawns would never have been viable," D'Angelo added. "Yet, they were found groomed and in a natural position, suggesting that the doe tried to care for them after delivery. The maternal instinct is very strong."

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