The Two-Headed Calf

A trip to any natural history museum is always a thrill to me.

I loved the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC:

And I loved the Natural History Museum in London:

Natural History Museum, London

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Giant Sequoia - The Hall of Einar Giant Sequoias A trip to the Natural History Museum in London is always a thrill. I love seeing all the dead things… read more
Adult human female - The Hall of Einar Adult Human female I was at the Natural History Museum in London a month ago when I saw the skeleton of an adult… read more
Archaeopteryx - The Hall of Einar Archaeopteryx The Natural History Museum has some wonderful fossils, as well as casts of wonderful fossils faked to look real. Recognise… read more
Bath White - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) Vernon’s Half-Mourner I'm in the far south of Italy, in the heel of the boot that makes the Country so much more… read more

This time we’re in Museo di Storia Naturale di Venezia and the exhibit which is getting my attention is the stuffed heads of a calf, or is it calves?

Two Heads - Venice - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

When identical twins don’t separate in early development in the womb, then a whole variety of conjoined twins can arise. Sometimes these can result in Siamese twins. Sometimes they result in two-headed animals.

The fascination with ‘freaks’ of nature means examples of multiple heads are common in tales of gods and monsters throughout history. They are often portrayed as ‘knowing’ or able to sense things beyond the natural world.

In other words, I’m talking about monozygotic polycephaly and perceptions of omni-clairvoyance in polytheistic religions.

In reality, rather than having extra-sensory perception, they find it difficult to move, feed and breathe and often die young. Reality and religion are poles apart, as ever.

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