It isn't every day that you get to see a two-headed dolphin -- or two-headed anything, for that matter. But a 39-year-old gym teacher, one Tugrul Metin, came upon the gruesomely strange sight when he stumbled upon the remains of a two-headed dolphin on a beach near Izmir in western Turkey, Huffington Post reported Aug. 11.
Metin actually watched as the two-headed dolphin's carcass floated in on the waves. The eyes on one of the dolphin heads were reportedly "not properly opened," according to the Daily Mail. One of the blowholes also did not open properly.
"I noticed the dolphin in the sea and watched as it washed on to the beach," Metin told the Mail. "I couldn't take it in at first. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me... I was completely shocked."
Metin had the wherewithall to call the local police, who showed up and removed the conjoined carcass from the beach. The dual-headed creature was sent to a laboratory for study. One marine biology professor at Ak Deniz University said he looked forward to studying the rare creature, noting that its existence was similar to that of conjoined twins in humans.
According to The Mirror, the two-headed dolphin was a calf, estimated to be 3.2 feet in length and was about a year old.
Such a conjoined state, where an animal has two heads (or more) instead of the normal one, is known as polycephaly. It is a rare genetic defect and can be found in all animals.
For example, in April a man snapped a photo of what is believed to be a checkered keelback snake with two heads in India. Sunday Express reported that the snake had been sighted several times in the village of Burdwan in West Bengal before a local man captured it on his camera phone.
In October last year in Vermont, WPTZ in Burlington announced a two-headed calf (bovine, not dolphin) had been born that had two fully operational heads but only one brain.
In March 2013, a Florida fisherman pulled in a pregnant bull shark. When he cut her open, he found two live baby bull sharks inside. According to National Geographic, one with two fully developed heads.