Mutations are absolutely necessary for the evolution of species; however, some significant mutations can end up being detrimental to the existence of an individual. Here, we share some of the most shocking mutations observed in animals:
This unique calf was born on a family farm in Florida in 2015. Named “Annabel,” she had two heads, four eyes, two mouths, two noses, and two ears.
She was too weak to lift her heads to stand up and suckle from her mother, so the devoted family visited her regularly with a bottle. Unfortunately, there was nothing veterinarians could do to help her; the longest a two-headed calf is recorded to have survived is 40 days.
Mountain lion with second jaw
The deformed mountain lion. Photo by Idaho Fish and Game.
This peculiar animal was legally harvested in Preston, Idaho after someone observed it attacking a dog, according to Idaho Fish and Game.
The hunter was extremely confused when he approached the animal up close — it had a fully formed set of teeth and small whiskers growing out of its forehead. Apparently, this is evidence of either remnants of of a conjoined twin that that died while still in the womb, or a rare tumor.
Shark fetuses with two heads are becoming increasingly common around the world. The mutation that leads to the growth of two heads is called axial bifurcation, and it has been seen in other animals – even humans. In these sharks, if they survived birth, it is not likely that they would live long in the wild.
Scientists are still trying to figure out why this is happening. The most popular theory is overfishing, which would lead to a smaller gene pool and higher susceptibility to genetic mutations such as axial bifurcation. Other possible causes include metabolic disorders, pollution, and viral infections.
Goat with 4 extra limbs
This 8-legged kid was born on a farm in northeast Croatia. Not only did it have twice the normal number of legs — it also had both male and female reproductive organs.
The reason for this is that, like the mountain lion, the goat possessed remnants of an underdeveloped twin sibling. Named “Billy the Squid,” he likely did not survive more than a week.
“Froggy,” a three-headed, six-legged frog was discovered in waters of a seaside resort in Somerset, England after escaping captivity.
The amphibian’s unusual form is likely a cause of either a random genetic defect or water pollution. Biology professor Tim Halliday said, “I’ve never heard of a frog like this before. People have been reporting mutant frogs for 200 years, but to find one with three heads and six legs is very rare.”
Duck with 4 legs
“Donald” the four-legged duck was hatched by a family in Louisiana in 2014. Apparently healthy with the exception of two extra legs, this bird survived to adulthood and even had his own Facebook page.
Donald was treated by veterinarians at Louisiana State University who attempted to bandage and brace one of his good legs to help him walk. His owners reported on Facebook, “The therapy we are trying and the brace on his left leg isn’t working well.. but we are still trying.” Unfortunately, he died 2 months later.
Meet the two headed albino Honduran milk snake named “Medusa” — apparently worth $50,000. The owner of the “Venice Beach Freakshow” paid that hefty sum for this beauty.
He told Huffington Post, “I’ve wanted her since the day she was born.” He continued, “The snake is perfect. Some other two-headed snakes are beautiful but they have a kink where the heads become one. Medusa doesn’t. It’s as if she was meant to have two heads.”
“These beautiful girls are bearded dragon conjoined twins, hatched in China. Currently they’re living at the Venice Beach freakshow owned by Todd Ray in California. One body, two heads, two hearts and six legs.”
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