BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Dutch fishermen made an incredible discovery for the world of cetaceans. They found one of the rare examples of conjoined twin porpoises. Since such specimens are so rare, researchers can study them and gather novel information on the phenomenon.
Conjoined twin porpoises are extremely rare
Conjoined twins are rare even among humans, so there are almost no such creatures born among marine mammals. More precisely, this is the 10th case of conjoined twin cetaceans, so researchers have scarce data on such creatures. They cannot compare what they know about conjoined human twins with porpoises, since their anatomy is strikingly different.
However, this does not prove that the phenomenon is rare among cetaceans as well. Since oceans are so vast, it is difficult for marine biologists to spot all peculiar creatures which populate their waters. Therefore, a lack of biological evidence of conjoined twin porpoises does not mean that they are not born more often.
Researchers collected information on the specimen from photos
Unfortunately, scientists didn’t manage to thoroughly study this specimen either. The fishermen who caught it thought it would be illegal to keep the creatures, so they released the conjoined twin porpoises back into the ocean. However, they had taken some pictures before, which allowed the researchers to take a look at the animals.
The photos indicated that the twins were male, and they died shortly after they were born, since their tail hadn’t become stiff. This is vital for marine animals, otherwise they cannot swim. Not only conjoined twins, but also regular twins are rarely born among cetaceans, since the mother doesn’t have enough room in the womb for two fetuses.
In fact, this is the second case of conjoined twin porpoises for this particular species. Although they couldn’t perform a complete study on the animals, they can expand their knowledge on this rare phenomenon.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons