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Calf with two faces

1013 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  Sickie Ickie
Calf with two faces born at Va. farm

9 minutes ago

One of the newest arrivals at Kirk Heldreth's dairy farm is drawing crowds. A calf with two faces was born Dec. 27 at Heldreth Dairy Farm, and word has spread in southwest Virginia as residents flock to his farm.

The animal is normal from its tail until its unusually large head. The calf breathes out of two noses and has two tongues, which move independently, according to Heldreth. There appears to be a single socket containing two eyes where the heads split.

"It's the craziest thing I've ever seen," the dairyman said.

During the calf's birth, Heldreth said he first thought there were two calves.

The calf has two lower jaws, but only one mouth. Heldreth feeds her through a tube, and acknowledges he probably can't maintain that feeding schedule for long.

The calf was the product of artificial insemination, which was supposed to create a genetically superior specimen. "Genetically, this is one of my better calves," he said.

Bob James, a professor in the dairy science department at Virginia Tech and Heldreth's former teacher, said such births are unusual.

"In my 25 years, I've seen it maybe two or three times, but it's pretty rare," he said.

James said the abnormality could be caused by a developmental problem or a genetic quirk.

According to MedicineNet.com, the condition is called diprosopus. It happens when twins start to form and don't completely separate. In most cases, the twins are completely fused with one set of limbs, but part or all the face is duplicated.

Heldreth said the calf doesn't appear to have any other physical ailments or complications.

"It's as healthy as can be," he said.

Heldreth expects many more people will be curious enough to stop by.

"I'll just have to tie the dogs extra tight," he said.

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Fascinating! I love physocal mutations!
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