A group of Dutch fishermen found a scary monster in their fishing net. When the fishermen noticed there was something fishy in their fishing net, they couldn’t believe their eyes – it was a two-headed porpoise, the world’s first of its kind.
The bizarre discovery grabbed global headlines, as the world has never seen a porpoise with two heads before.
The fishermen are in hot water over their decision to throw the rare two-headed porpoise back into the sea over fears of getting into trouble.
So, unfortunately, it’s one of those cases when people say, “there are plenty more fish in the sea,” as it’s unlikely a two-headed porpoise will surface anywhere in the world anytime soon.
Luckily for curious animal experts, the Dutch fishermen took a series of photos of the dead creature before they tossed it back into the sea.
No one out of the group of fishermen expected to see a two-headed porpoise near Hoek van Holland – or in other words, their discovery was like a fish out of water.
Catching the porpoise with two heads was like shooting fish in a barrel, as the bizarre creature was dead already. Nonetheless, the fishermen threw it away fearing it would be illegal to keep the rare specimen.
While the fishermen weren’t trying to fish for compliments when they shared the exclusive photos of the two-headed porpoise with animal experts, they certainty got praise from around the world for discovering the first known case of conjoined twin porpoises.
The bizarre discovery caught the attention at the Erasmus MC University Medical Center in Rotterdam, which started poring over the two-headed porpoise pics to study the phenomenon of conjoined twins in marine life.
— Telegraph News (@TelegraphNews) June 14, 2017
Experts have already confirmed that the two-headed porpoise died shortly after its birth, according to the New Scientist. They based their conclusion on the observation that the tail of the porpoise had not stiffened.
Besides the non-stiff tail, the scientists also noticed that both heads had small hairs on the upper lips, which are supposed to fall out not long after the porpoise is born.
The porpoise, which is usually found in northwest European waters, is a member of the cetaceans group, which also includes whales and dolphins.
For those who have the memory of a goldfish (or simply skip news about bizarre two-headed animals), there was a discovery of a two-headed dolphin that made waves across the Internet in 2014.
— The Independent (@Independent) August 13, 2014
The discovery of the two-headed dolphin in Turkey became only the fifth known case of conjoined twins in the dolphin family, according to the National Geographic.
Although partial twinning in marine life is extremely rare, there’s a legitimate explanation why conjoined twins keep popping up all around the world.
Partial twinning occurs either when two initially separate embryonic discs fuse together due to the lack of room in the body of the female, or when the zygote splits during the early development process only partially.
However, the particular case of the two-headed porpoises is of high interest to a scientist, as Erwin Kompanje, of the Erasmus MC University Medical Center in Rotterdam, tells the New Scientist that “much is unknown” about conjoined twins in marine life.
“The anatomy of cetaceans is strikingly different from terrestrial mammals with adaptations for living in the sea as a mammal.”
Kompanje also said it was a shame that the fishermen decided to throw the two-headed porpoise back into the sea, as it’s unknown if such a creature will ever surface again.
But at least the fishermen can sleep peacefully that they are off the hook, and no legal trouble will come their way for keeping the rare specimen.
[Featured Image by David Gard/AP Images]