Fishermen off the coast of the Netherlands have caught the world’s first two-headed dolphin. This strange creature has only one body with two completely separate heads and it is believed to be a pair of conjoined twins.
The researchers hope that this finding will help fill a gap in our understanding of twinning in aquatic mammals – we’ve only observed 10 such cases around the world.
Although the fishermen released the fish back into the wild, they still sent photos of it to scientists at Erasmus University, Rotterdam.
Lead researcher Dr Erwin Kompanje said: “The anatomy of marine animals is very different from the anatomy of terrestrial animals due to adaptations to the aquatic environment. We still don’t know much about their anatomical features.”
“Having any one more case to complement the previous nine samples also adds a lot of knowledge in this respect.”
Even normal twins are rare in marine mammals. “It’s simply because the mother’s body doesn’t have enough room for more than one fetus,” says Dr. Kompanje.
And if there are other cetacean conjoined twins in the wild, finding them is like ‘finding a needle in the seabed’.
Dr Kompanje said, “Currently, we only know of 10 cases of such conjoined twins in the wild, in fact there must be more but we can’t know because they were born inside. ocean and has never been discovered.”