Two-headed deer found in Minnesota


Credit: University of Georgia

Researchers from University of Georgia investigated a two-headed deer. It was found by a mushroom hunter in a forest near Freeburg, Minnesota, in May 2016.


The conjoined twin fawns, which were stillborn, are believed to be the first ones found to have reached full term and then be delivered by their mother. The animal was clean, dry and appeared to be recently deceased. The mushroom hunter called the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, where Gino D’Angelo, the researcher from University of Georgia was working at the time.


The two-headed deer was frozen and delivered to University of Minnesota’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. D’Angelo and his team conducted a full necropsy, a 3D computed tomography and a magnetic resonance imaging. They found that the fawns had two separate necks and heads, but they shared a body. They had normal fur, normal heads and legs, and even almost perfect spot patterns running up their necks.

Gino D’Angelo et al/University of Georgia

Lab tests of the lungs confirmed the fawns never breathed air and were delivered stillborn, and the necropsy found that the does had a malformed, shared liver, extra spleens and gastrointestinal tracts, as well as two hearts that shared a single pericardial sac.


Only two cases of conjoined twins have been found in white-tailed deer, but both were fetuses who had not yet been delivered. Why these twins became conjoined is a mystery. Gino D’Angelo said that two-headed deer is extremely rare case.



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