An 'Amazing' Find: Conjoined Deer Fawns

A mushroom hunter found the stillborn twins in Minnesota
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2018 8:03 AM CDT
An 'Amazing' Find: Conjoined Deer Fawns
The conjoined fawns.   (University of Georgia)

A mushroom hunter made an "amazing and extremely rare" find in a Minnesota forest in 2016: Conjoined twin fawns, which largely shared a body. The doe fawns had been cleaned by their mother, though lab testing confirmed they were stillborn and had never breathed air, per a University of Georgia researcher who recently published his findings in the American Midland Naturalist. "Their anatomy indicates the fawns would never have been viable," Gino D’Angelo said "Yet, they were found groomed and in a natural position, suggesting that the doe tried to care for them after delivery. The maternal instinct is very strong." The only other conjoined deer fawns ever found were in utero, and a press release notes that only 19 instances have been found in wildlife between 1671 and 2006.

"We can’t even estimate the rarity of this. Of the tens of millions of fawns born annually in the US," says D'Angelo, "there are probably abnormalities happening in the wild we don’t even know about." The fawns had completely separate heads and necks, two hearts in one pericardial sac, two spleens, two gastrointestinal tracts, one set of lungs, and one malformed liver, notes Fox News. The fawns will be on display at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. (Read more conjoined twins stories.)

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