A walker made a most startling discovery in a forest in Minnesota, when he came across the body of a fawn with two heads in 2016.
Gina D'Angelo, an assistant professor At Georgia University, studied the animal's body, and said to Science Alert:
It's amazing and extremely rare. We can't even estimate the rarity of this. Of the tens of millions of fawns born annually in the US, there are probably abnormalities happening in the wild we don't even know about.
The fawns turned out to be conjoined twins, the first of their kind know to have been carried to term and birthed. It isn't rare to find conjoined animals in domestic animals, but only 19 cases have been observed in the wild between 1671 and 2006. Five of theses cases have been deer.
Source: University of Georgia
After their discovery, the fawns were frozen to be studied in further detail. The research team continued to perform a full necropsy, a CT scan, as well as a magnetic resonance imaging.
They found that the female fawns had one body, but the spine diverged at the thorax into two, so that there were two separate necks and two separate heads. They also found out that they had never breathed air and were stillborn instead.
If the baby had been born alive, however, she would never have lived very long. Out of the two digestive systems, only one of them was functional and connected to the animal's anus. Moreover, the two young shared only one liver, which was in a very bad state.
H/t: Science Alert