When a mushroom hunter discovered a dead, two-headed deer fawn in a Minnesota forest two years ago, little did he know that his discovery would become a landmark case for scientists.
The discovery was made in May 2016, when a mushroom hunter came across the twins about a mile from the Mississippi River in Freeburg, Minn., located in the southeast portion of the state.
The fawns had two gastrointestinal tracts and hearts but one liver was malformed, indicating they would not have been able to survive. The study was later conducted and the results were published in the Journal of the American Midland Naturalist by Gino D'Angelo who is an assistant professor of deer ecology and management at the University of Georgia. The fawns will be on display at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The twins were conjoined from the neck down and were stillborn.
"We think it's an unnatural splitting of cells during early embryo development", D'Angelo said.
The stillborn deer, with two heads and one body, "are believed to be the first ones found to have reached full term and then be delivered by their mother", the University of Georgia reports.
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A mushroom gatherer found a dead two-headed deer in a USA forest.
The fawns had normal fur, heads, and legs, according to researchers. A necropsy (B) showed twin sets of organs, including two hearts nestled in the same sac (a).
Wild Images In Motion Taxidermy positioned the conjoined fawns on a bed of greenery, however, they'll eventually be moved to the Minnesota DNR headquarters in St. Paul and placed on public display.
Researchers ran lab tests to confirm that the fawns were stillborn and never breathed air once they were delivered.
The fact that it was clean and was in a natural position suggested that the doe tried desperately to keep the fawns alive and tried to care for them after delivery.
The two-headed deer found in Minnesota is an extremely rare specimen not only among its species but also among other species. "The maternal instinct is very strong". "The taxidermists, Robert Utne and Jessica Brooks, did a great job with the mount and treated it very respectfully".