Polycephaly More Than One Head — Multi-Headed Animals

Condition of having more than one head is know as Polycephaly. This term is derived from Greek language where poly means ‘Much’ and kephali, ‘Head’. In medical sciences all these conditions are congenital cephalic disorders.

Many occurrences of multi-headed animals have been found in real life as well as in mythology. The double-headed eagle is a common symbol found in historical studies even though no such animal is known to have ever existed. Oldest evidence found so far of two-headed animals is around 120 million years old fossil of an ancient lizard which was discovered in 2007, which proves that animal with multiple heads do exist and from long time ago, though very rare.

Byzantine Eagle of Relief from buildings of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Double-headed eagle emblem of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (Istanbul), based on insignia of the Byzantine Empire from Relief from buildings of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople

The thumbnail is Double-headed eagle emblem of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (Istanbul), based on insignia of the Byzantine Empire from buildings of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

There are two variants of animals with two heads

  1. Animals with two heads on one body
  2. Animals with two faces over one head

Snakes are the most common two-headed animals and still are very rare. These two-headed animals are actually twins conjoined or a fully formed individual with a complete and a parasitic twin only consisting of a head. These snakes are displayed sometimes on animal side shows or zoos, also a few museums have specimens of two-headed snakes preserved with them.

Here we are listing a few animals with both variants of two headness along with their pictures.

Two-Headed Young Tortoise

Two Headed Tortoise Wellington, South Africa held by its owner

Two Headed Tortoise Wellington, South Africa

A two-headed young tortoise in Wellington, South Africa is held by its owner, Noel Daniels. Noel Daniels says that the tortoise does all the things a normal tortoise does and that the rare phenomena of polycephaly occurs during the embryonic stage of development.

Two-Headed Bobtail Lizard

Two Headed Reptile found in Coogee New South Wales

Two Headed Bobtail Lizard, Coogee New South Wales

This two-headed reptile was rescued from Coogee by the Park and appears to be doing well, although the life expectancy of such mutated births is expected to be very short. It eats from both heads but the larger head has the primary control and also tried to attack the smaller one, its movement is difficult as both heads control its legs. It also has a healthy sibling without any mutation. Bobtaillizards give birth to live offspring, rather than laying eggs.

Two Faced Cat Frank and Louie

Two Faced Cat Frank and Louie in Worcester, Massachusetts

Two Faced Cat Frank and Louie, Worcester, Massachusetts

This cat sitting on a mat in his home in Worcester, Massachusetts with two faces is known as Frank and Louie. The animal is known as a Janus cat, named for the figure in Roman mythology with two faces on one head. The owner calls the face on the left Frank, while the face on the right she identifies as Louie. Frank and Louie also set a Guinness record by surviving for 12 years in Massachusetts.

Two-Faced Hereford Calf

Hereford calf in Elk Grove California

Hereford calf, Elk Grove California

A Hereford calf with two joining heads is bottle fed at a veterinary clinic in Elk Grove, California where it was taken by owner Dick Harry. The twelve day old female calf can eat with both mouths but the one being fed is more dominant.

Sources: (A) Wikipedia (B) Emirates 24/7

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