JUN 16, 2017 08:40 AM PDT

Fishermen Find the World's First-Known Two-Headed Porpoise

Fishermen typically come across some interesting things every so often while realing in their catch. On the other hand, this finding in the Netherlands just might take the cake.

Published in the journal Deinsea, researchers describe an incredibly rare two-headed harbor porpoise (parapagus dicephalus), a conjoined twin, that was caught in the North Sea by Dutch fishermen.

The two-headed porpoise is the first of its kind ever found.

Image Credit: Henk Tanis

It’s the first-known matter of conjoined twinning occurring in a porpoise, but the tenth-known matter of it occurring in the cetacean species as a whole. No matter how you look at it, this is quite a rare find.

Related: Researchers describe a two-headed shark embryo

For what it’s worth, the animal was already deceased when the fishermen scooped it up out the water, but out of fear of potential legality issues of keeping a caught marine mammal onboard their vessel, they snapped a photograph of it and then quickly released it back into the water.

It’s fortunate that they did grab detailed photographs, however, because University of Rotterdam researchers are studying them to try and learn more about the creature despite not having a physical body to go by.

One thing they point out is how the tail is incredibly thin and hadn’t built up any muscle from swimming. This indicates that the animal couldn't swin and probably died shortly after birth. It has probably been floating around in the water ever since, and this means it wasn't the fault of the fishermen that it was deceased when it was found.

Related: Dolphin violently catapults a porpoise several feet into the air

Another clue that told researchers the age of the creature was the rostrum hair that appears on the upper lips of both heads. These normally fall out as the creature ages, but since they were still present in the photographs, it was pretty obvious that the animal was still young.

It’s unknown whether the mother of the conjoined porpoises is still alive and well at this point in time, as the mother and the babies were clearly separated unrelated to the fishermen. In many cases, when births don't occur correctly, it can have negative implications on the mother's health as the female's body is rarely capable of hosting more than one youngling at a time.

Source: TIME

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
SEP 22, 2019
Earth & The Environment
SEP 22, 2019
What's Really Killing Coral Reefs?
A variety of environmental stressors threaten the world's coral reefs, most notably increases in water temperature due to climate change. Changes...
SEP 22, 2019
Health & Medicine
SEP 22, 2019
10-minutes of Animal Interaction Reduces Students' Cortisol Levels
Unsurprisingly, college and its encompassing responsibilities cause high-stress levels in students. One way that nearly 1,000 U.S. college campuses try to...
SEP 22, 2019
Cancer
SEP 22, 2019
Understanding osteosarcoma in kids and dogs
New research published in the Nature journal, Communications Biology, shows evidence for a comparative study that scientists could use to improve treatment...
SEP 22, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
SEP 22, 2019
How Wolves Evolved into Dogs
Wolves and dogs share 99.9% of their DNA. Technically still the same species, they can also produce healthy offspring. But having said that, there’s ...
SEP 22, 2019
Microbiology
SEP 22, 2019
Researchers Find That Rift Valley Fever Can Spread in US Livestock
Mosquitoes spread the virus that causes Rift Valley Fever, which is usually seen in cattle but can infect people....
SEP 22, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
SEP 22, 2019
Release of Genetically-Modified Mosquitoes Doesn't Go As Planned
Mosquitoes can carry dangerous diseases like malaria that could lead to serious health consequences or even death, especially in underdeveloped countries....
Loading Comments...