HOOK OF HOLLAND, NETHERLANDS — A group of Dutch fishermen discovered the first two-headed porpoise on record last month when the they accidentally caught the animal in a fishing net in North Sea.
The bizarre animal was picked on May 30 near Hoek van Holland, and is the first known case of conjoined twin porpoises, National Geographic reported.
Concerned over whether keeping the animal would be illegal, the fishermen took a few snaps of the dead creature before throwing it back into the ocean.
Scientists are hoping to learn more about partial twinning in marine life through the photographs taken of the animal. Experts have already confirmed the newborn male porpoise died shortly after birth because the tail, which allows them to swim, had not stiffened. They also pointed out the porpoise’s heads had small hairs on the upper lips, which should’ve fallen out shortly after its birth. The body also still had its umbilical opening.
The two-headed porpoise is the 10th recorded example of conjoined twins found among the cetaceans species.
Erwin Kompanje of the Erasmus MC University Medical Center in Rotterdam said that and even regular twins are rare among whales and dolphins. Kompanje also points out that twin-headed porpoise such the one discovered is the result of two separate embryos fusing together, or a zygote partially having partially split. However, scientists have yet to gain a full understanding of these animals.