The twins were conjoined from the neck down and were stillborn. The only other conjoined deer fawns ever found were in utero, and a press release notes that only 19 instances have been found in wildlife between 1671 and 2006.
The man found the stillborn fawns in May 2016 near Freeburg, Minnesota, about a mile from the Mississippi River.
"This is the first case described of conjoined two-headed white-tailed deer brought to full-term gestation and delivered".
"We think it's an unnatural splitting of cells during early embryo development", D'Angelo said.
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 famous taxidermy company, the Wild Images in Motion got the pelt to make into the taxidermy mount that will be showcased on the display at the headquarters of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. We can not even gauge the rarity of the.
When researchers at the University of Minnesota's veterinary diagnostic laboratory conducted a necropsy and MRI and CT scans of the body, they discovered the female fawns had one body but two separate necks and two heads. After examining the corpse of an animal, the researchers found that it was a DOE white-tailed deer. The fawns had normal fur, heads and legs, but internally had a shared liver, extra spleens and gastrointestinal tracts.
In utero, stated Gino D'Angelo, researcher in the University of Georgia from the United States who analyzed the bull.
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.
They had two hearts, which shared a pericardial sac - the outer layer of a heart.
After the hunter contacted the Minnesota DNR, the fawns were frozen before being taken for analysis. "The maternal instinct is very strong".
D'Angelo said conjoined twins are relatively commonly in domestic animals, however they are extremely rare in other wildlife.
The lungs sank when placed in water indicating that they never breathed air and were stillborn.
After the study wrapped up, the twins were preserved by Robert Utne and taxidermist Jessica Brooks to create a realistic display.