After unthawing the deer, they performed CT and MRI scans and a necropsy, or animal autopsy. They realized the fawns had never breathed air, which means they were stillborns. They also shared several body parts, but had two hearts and two intestinal tracts. They had normal fur, heads and legs, and “almost perfect” spot patterns running up their necks.
“It’s amazing and extremely rare,” UGA researcher Gino D’Angelo said in a statement. “We can’t even estimate the rarity of this. Of the tens of millions of fawns born annually in the U.S., there are probably abnormalities happening in the wild we don’t even know about.”
They are still unsure how the twins became conjoined. “Even in humans we don’t know,” D’Angelo said. “We think it’s an unnatural splitting of cells during early embryo development.”