Animals have two faces because of a rare condition

The only sure thing about life is its uncertainty and mysteries it carried with itself. Sometimes, we get less than what we anticipated and other times much more, rather double than we anticipated. Such is the case with animals or human suffering with Craniofacial Duplication.


Often, we hear about twins who are joined together partially or fully. But, rare is the site of an animal or human with two faces. In humans, it is a rare sight, but there have been many cases of pigs born with two faces or chickens or a much popular case of Frank and Louie, a two-faced cat. Animals born with such a condition are suffering from a rare disease called Diprosopus or as mentioned-above Craniofacial Duplication.



It is a medical condition where the animal is under-developed or overdeveloped and the face is overgrown and is attached to one body. In this case, either there will be two faces merged into one, or more than two eyes or beaks, etc.


Scientists conducted various experiments related to the condition, but are not 100% sure about the underlying experiments and how is it different from co-joined twins. In one of the experiments, the scientists collected fertilized chicken eggs and made changes in the embryo. They edited the embryo by reducing or adding SHH, i.e., Sonic Hedgehog Homolog, a protein responsible for the development of the face and brain.


When the eggs hatched, chickens were either under-developed or over-developed. The chickens with less or no SHH have narrow faces or just one eye on each head and the chickens with over SHH had duplicated parts, more eyes, or beaks. It makes one think about the life expectancy of such animals or the quality of life.


There are many cases of craniofacial duplication where such animals are stillborn and the owners bury them without documenting or informing about their birth. The survival of such is cases is rare like there was a pig named Ditto with two faces who used to eat with one head and breathe from another, but he could not survive for more than a month. He died while eating from one mouth and inhaling from the other. Yet, there are unusual cases like Frank and Louie cat that lived a long life till the age of fifteen and crossed the rainbow bridge peacefully.


However, hard it is to believe, nature from time to time surprises us with its powers and possibilities that are beyond our intellect.