Two-headed whale discovered in Mexican lagoon could be world's first ever documented find, experts say - Nature - Environment - The Independent

Conjoined gray whale calves discovered in Mexican lagoon could be world's first ever documented find, experts say

Experts said that while other species have been found to have conjoined twins, the find is ‘without any precedent’ among gray whales

A A A

A pair of conjoined gray whale calves have been found dead off the coast of Mexico, in what scientists believe could be the first discovery of its kind.

Joined at the waist, the creatures weighed nearly half a tonne and measured around 4 metres (13ft) long.

Experts said it would have been virtually impossible for the twin whales to have survived – at around half the length of an average gray whale, they would likely have been born prematurely.

The animals were discovered in the Ojo de Liebre lagoon, which opens onto the Pacific Ocean and is one of a number of prominent breeding sanctuaries used by gray whales on the Baja California peninsula.

The find was verified after a visit on Monday by the National Natural Protected Areas Commission (CONANP).

Marine biologist Benito Bermudez, CONANP’s regional manager, told the AFP news agency the discovery was “exceptionally rare, without any precedent” to his knowledge.

While examples of conjoined twins have occurred in other whale species such as fin, sei and minke, it is thought there are no previously published discoveries of the phenomenon in gray whales.

 Alisa Schulman-Janiger, a researcher with the American Cetacean Society, told Grind TV there were concerns that with the twins severely underdeveloped, the birth or possibly stillbirth might also have killed the mother.

The 4m- (13ft-) long conjoined whales were dead when they were found in the Ojo de Liebre lagoon The 4m- (13ft-) long conjoined whales were dead when they were found in the Ojo de Liebre lagoon

A video of the discovery of the animals on Sunday was uploaded to YouTube by Krystian Abundez, and images were posted to the Facebook group of local conservationists Guerrero Negro Verde, with the translated statement: “Unfortunately, the specimen died. [Its] survival was very difficult.”

The carcass of the whales has been taken away for further study by a government agency.

Every year hundreds of gray whales migrate around 6,000 miles from the Bering Sea to the warmer waters of Mexico’s west coast. Most have calves during the last week of December and the first two weeks of January, and nurse for a number of weeks before making the long return journey north.

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
News
i100
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Manager with some Agile experience

£45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...

Data/ MI Analyst

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are cur...

Secondary Supply Teachers to work in Peterborough

£110 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cambridge: Supply teachers required fo...

Project Manager (retail, upgrades, rollouts)

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week