Axial Bifurcation and Polycephaly: The Rare Occurrence in the Animal Kingdom
Axial bifurcation is a rare condition that occurs when monozygotic twins fail to separate completely during embryonic development. This results in polycephaly, a condition where an animal has more than one head. While this condition has been reported in a variety of animals, including snakes, turtles, and even humans, it is exceedingly rare and can have severe negative impacts on the animal’s survival.
Two-headed reptiles are not completely unheard of in the animal kingdom, but their survival is unlikely without human intervention and care. Even then, survival is not guaranteed due to the unique challenges that come with having multiple heads.
One famous example of a polycephalic animal is Medusa, a two-headed snake whose feedings need to be carefully orchestrated due to competition between the two heads. This competition is just one reason why polycephalic animals have a hard time surviving in the wild.
Animals with multiple heads also have a difficult time moving around, making them more susceptible to predation. This difficulty in movement is due to having one body controlled by two independent brains. The animal’s ability to coordinate its movements is severely impacted, making it challenging to evade predators or capture prey.
Recently, a photograph has been circulating on social media of an alligator with two heads, causing quite a stir among animal enthusiasts. The photograph was reportedly taken in Florida and has been the subject of much debate among commenters.
While some have expressed skepticism about the photo, others believe it to be genuine. However, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), who were reportedly contacted by several people about the alligator, have expressed doubts about the photograph’s authenticity.
According to a local Fox affiliate, the FWC stated that they were skeptical of the photograph. However, two trappers were reportedly sent to investigate. Commenters have also pointed out the lack of tracks in the sand coming out of the water and the fact that the alligator’s right limbs appear to be hovering above the sand, leading some to suspect that the photo was created using Photoshop or creative taxidermy.
Despite the debate over the authenticity of the photo, there are several clues that suggest it is likely a hoax. The source of the photograph, a blog on Tumblr dedicated to bizarre items being passed off as real, has raised suspicions. One example on the blog is a “very rare” trout with a thick fur coat allegedly caught in Lake Michigan in the 1960s. The plaque accompanying the trout claims that the “extreme penetrating coldness of the water” caused the trout to grow its dense coat of fur, which defies scientific explanation.
In conclusion, axial bifurcation and polycephaly are rare conditions in the animal kingdom. While they may capture our attention and imagination, the survival of animals with multiple heads is unlikely without human intervention and care. As for the photograph of the two-headed alligator, it remains a topic of debate among animal enthusiasts, but the evidence suggests that it is likely a hoax.