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Two-headed Reptile Fossil Found in China 156

Posted by samzenpus
from the better-than-one dept.
[TheBORG] writes "A tiny skeleton from the Early Cretaceous shows an embryonic or newborn reptile with two heads and two necks, called axial bifurcation ('two-headedness') (a well-known developmental flaw among reptile species today such as turtles and snakes) was found in China by French and Chinese paleontologists recovered from the Yixian Formation, which is nearly 150 million years old."
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Two-headed Reptile Fossil Found in China

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  • by Harmonious Botch (921977) * on Thursday December 21, 2006 @12:49AM (#17322226) Homepage Journal
    Seriously, I wonder if there is any evolutionary connection between the placement of some neural processing in the hindquarters and the frequency of two heads in the reptilian class, as if mother nature was experimenting with protecting brainpower by moving it around to a safer location, or by duplicating it. Since reptiles had the first big brains, this may have been the first occasion to arise in which trying to protect brains might be worth the expense.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ArcherB (796902) *
      Seriously, I wonder if there is any evolutionary connection between the placement of some neural processing in the hindquarters and the frequency of two heads in the reptilian class, as if mother nature was experimenting with protecting brainpower by moving it around to a safer location, or by duplicating it. Since reptiles had the first big brains, this may have been the first occasion to arise in which trying to protect brains might be worth the expense.

      I doubt it's anything so "designed". Mother nature
      • by ArcherB (796902) * on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:03AM (#17322282) Journal
        After about two seconds more research, I found that the condition is called Polycephaly:

        Again, from Wiki. [wikipedia.org] Copied and pasted to save you guys a click:
        Polycephaly is the condition of having more than one head. By far the most common use is in relation to the anatomical head, though the word has also been used for other meanings of "head". The term is derived from the stems poly- meaning 'many' and kephal- meaning "head", and encompasses bicephaly and dicephaly (both referring to two-headedness). A variation is an animal born with two faces on a single head, a condition known as diprosopus. In medical terms these are all congenital cephalic disorders.

        There are many occurrences of multi-headed animals, in real life as well as in mythology. Many fantasy universes contain races of creatures with multiple heads. In heraldry and vexillology, the double-headed eagle is a common symbol, though no such animal is known to have ever existed.

        Bicephalic animals are the only type of multi-headed creatures seen in the real world and form by the same process as conjoined twins: the zygote begins to split but fails to completely separate. One extreme example of this is the condition of craniopagus parasiticus, whereby a fully developed body has a parasitic twin head joined at the skull.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by networkBoy (774728)
          Without hitting the ID crap.
          We often refer to mother nature "experimenting" with evolution. We here all know* that there is no ID in the experiment part of the statement, it is more a euphamism for some random mutation that may or may not stick. To that end the only intelligent thing about having your brain in your head is the bandwith available for visual and auditory perception and processing. I'd venture to say a brain in the chest cavity would make a hell of a lot more sense and invest in faster nerv
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by greg_barton (5551) *
            I'd venture to say a brain in the chest cavity would make a hell of a lot more sense...

            How would you dissipate heat from a brain in your chest?
            • by data1 (23016) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:48AM (#17322666) Homepage
              Evolve radiating appendages that are highly vascularized to move blood rapidly away from the hot "core" with the brain.
              Doesnt't sound plausible because high blood flow at those rates exposes you to serious damage by relatively small injuries.
              • Which just goes to show that I am not an intellegent enough designer :-)
                But really if there was enough impedimus to have the brain even better protected than the skull and dura, then I'm relatively sure that there would be some way to move the heat away... Deeply embedded sweat glands such that vascular flow is not needed, pre-heated sweat instead? Dehydration risk I guess. Does the brain really generate that much heat? I'm really not all that educated on the finer points of the thermodynamics of the br
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by hey! (33014)
                Ever see a Triceratops skull up close? I have.

                I was fortunate enough to get to help a palentologist some years ago when he was attaching a horn to a magnificent specimen, and got a tour of the thing. The frill was shot full of veins, which makes you wonder whether it was any less vulnerable than the animal's shoulders and neck which (according to my childhood education via stop motion animation) the frill supposedly "armored".

                However, if you imagine the animal nose down grazing, as it must have done much
              • Evolve radiating appendages that are highly... Sounds Noodly. But is it the right kind of Noodly? I'm well aware thea the universe was created via Unintelligent Design, and that sounds way too clever to be sufficiently holy.
            • Add water cooling!
              • by kfg (145172)
                Add water cooling!

                Never work. Just think what would happen to an animal that developed a coolant leak.

                KFG
            • by kfg (145172)
              And once you've got your brain out in the airflow you increase it's radiative efficiency by adding surface area - convolutions/size.

              Feeling a bit hot/chilly? The solution is likely to be found in what you put on your head, not your chest.

              KFG
          • by mqduck (232646)
            We here all know* that there is no ID in the experiment part of the statement, it is more a euphamism for some random mutation that may or may not stick.


            What?! Thats news to me!

            Love,
            Troll
          • by glwtta (532858) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:24AM (#17322802) Homepage
            I'd venture to say a brain in the chest cavity would make a hell of a lot more sense and invest in faster nerves for the ears and eyes

            If it made more "sense" to have the brain in the chest, we would have brains in our chests. It's just pointless to argue with mother nature when it comes to design. You can probably point to some kinks that specific species are still working out, but anything this universal is so damn near optimal that it's awe-inspiring.

            I suspect the answer here is that there's no such thing as "faster nerves"; you'd have to increase nerve cell length to cut down on the number of synapses, which would make them more fragile, and, more importantly, less manageable (and still wouldn't make up for the comparatively huge distance). Come to think of it, it's the old "higher throughput" == "lowered responsiveness" problem.

            Plus, the head is better protected than the chest; it would probably add an inordinate amount of weight to the skeletal structure to fortify it to the same degree. Also, maintaining the blood-brain barrier would probably be tricky without the separation that the neck provides (not to mention that your circulatory system would be right next to the thing).
            • http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=212888&cid=173 22792 [slashdot.org]
              no argument from me.
              -nB
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by kooky45 (785515)
              The brain also generates a substantial amount of heat. In humans it's thought one of the reasons our ancestors started to stand vertically was so their heads could be higher from the ground and stay cooler in the hot climate where they evolved. Any animal with a large amount of body tissue surrounding their brain (in a chest cavity) would suffer overheating, and having the brain near the surface of the body makes it more vulnerable to damage from bumps, falls and attacks.
            • by vtcodger (957785) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @07:43AM (#17323728)
              ***If it made more "sense" to have the brain in the chest, we would have brains in our chests. It's just pointless to argue with mother nature when it comes to design. You can probably point to some kinks that specific species are still working out, but anything this universal is so damn near optimal that it's awe-inspiring.***

              Mother nature doesn't necessarily come up with optimal designs, just non-lethal ones. "Tradition" has a lot of influence. In the case of heads and brains, our (hypothetical) bilateran ancestor probably was a segmented animal with a tendancy to merge the segments at one end into a specialized structure with things like eyes, mouth's et al slapped together from pre-existing structures. As a result, chordates, arthropods, mollusks, and various kinds of "worms" all have their heads on one end of the body.

              At least that's what most people think is the reason for the architecture shared by many (not all) phyla. The fossil evidence from the time period where the various phyla probably diverged is scant and not entirely helpful.

              Yes, if there were an enormous advantage to locating the brain in the torso, it'd probably be there. But if the advantage is small, and getting to that arrangement involves a number of steps with no particular advantage, it might very well never happen.

              • Evolution is very powerful, but it is not a perfect optimization process. And in any case how the heck do you define "perfect?"

                The genetic algorithm is a "hill climbing" or "greedy algorithm." It can get caught in local maxima. (Sex acts to break us out of local maxima -- our children are likely to be some distance from us in genetic space because their genes are a mix of our genes and our mate's genes. But there's only so much that it can accomplish.)

                There could be enormous advantages to putting our br
            • by nwbvt (768631)
              Evolution doesn't really work that way. No part of our 'design' is optimized, as every change has to be incremental. And as a result there are many parts of the human body whose 'design' is quite bad. If we wanted to start over, we could easily make it much better by redesigning many parts of our bodies. Evolution on the other hand, cannot. The reason certain aspects are often so common is because we descend from common ancestors or the particular design was better suited for simpler species or because
            • by oni (41625) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @11:30AM (#17325810) Homepage
              If it made more "sense" to have the brain in the chest, we would have brains in our chests. It's just pointless to argue with mother nature when it comes to design.

              You're clearly very ignorant of how evolution works. Here's a quick counter example to disprove your "if it made more sense we'd have it" claim: The photoreceptor cells in your eye actually point backwards - toward the back wall of your eye. The nerve ending that transmits the captured light to the brain is on the front of the cell, and therefore has to be longer than strictly necessary (imagine a bunch of harddrives in a case. You would position the drives so that the cables all went out the back of the case. Now turn the drives around - you'll need longer cables and you'll have to route them along the side of each drive, taking up more room. Your eye is like that.)

              So why does your eye have this curious and non-optimal design? Beats the hell out of me. It's just a quirk of evolution. Invertebrates evolved their eyes separately (convergent evolution), and they actually got the correct design. This is why an octopus' eye is so good. The cells are pointed the right way, so you can pack more of them together. It's a more efficient design. But you can't point to humans and say, "no no, don't argue with mother nature, if there was a better way we'd have it!" because that just isn't true. There is a better way. We don't have it. Octopuses have it. We got the shaft.

              Evolution is random mutation and non-random selection. The best of the group survives. That in no way implies that the best is optimal. It was just the best available.
            • Mother Nature constantly tries small changes in the blueprints of life, and some of these results in life that is more fit to the environment.

              This is microoptimization, and if you keep it up long enough you will reach a local optimum (or would, if the environment didn't constantly change). But there is no guarantee this will also be a global optimum.

              Thus, the "if it could have been improved, it would already have been done" mantra is as wrong in Nature, as it is wrong (and damaging) in man made systems.
            • It's just pointless to argue with mother nature when it comes to design.
              Nature, screw you for making me susceptible to flu.

              There, I just argued with mother nature. OK, it was pointless, but only because she doesn't listen, not because I think she's such an optimal designer.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by SinGunner (911891)
      but how similar would the brains be? all the inputs would be different save for some aspects of feeling, though the general nature of the inputs would be very similar. it'd be hard to test too, eh?
    • by Sique (173459) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @04:09AM (#17322954) Homepage
      Dual-headed miscreants are also common with amphibia (frogs, newts), not only with reptilia. But because amphibia are often prey to a lot of predators, the dual-heads don't survive very long. An interesting exception is the site of the Tchernobyl nuclear plant, where after the nuclear catastrophe in 1986 most of the predators have left, and now the nearby lake shows miscreated newts and frogs more often. It's not because of the background radiation (it's back to normal levels at least in the lake), but because of the lack of predators that those animals survive so often.
    • After reading TFA and your subject line, I'm disappointed your post didn't mention a monkey with four asses. [wikipedia.org]
  • French and Chinese scientists? Two heads?

    Time for clozapine [wikipedia.org].
  • But everyone looked at me like I had two heads.
  • Not to be all stereotypical but a lot of outrageous claims and fakes have come from that area in the last couple years. I hope some super-experts examine it. After that, I bet this won't be the last time we hear about it on Slashdot. Oh and heheheheheh at the picture in the article :P
    • I'm inclined to agree that it is a dubious claim, considering the only picture shown in the article was an artistic impression of what it looked like whole. Also all the of the axial bifurcation mutations that I've seen on modern day reptiles tend to only have a short length from the point of divergence, where as this one appears to have two seperate necks as well as heads.
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by ILuvRamen (1026668)
        oooooooh! Now I remember! there was this whole big thing on the discovery channel or something about a really fractured but put back together fossil that was something outrageous like the first mammal ever or some other thing that was never supposed to exist like a half bird half mammal. Some foreign ppl claimed to find it and finally after years they proved it was more than one fossil put together because of some key piece of evidence they finally found. This sounds even more outrageous to me.
        • by T1nuz (1017884)
          It was in Nature last week, some mesozoic mammal which had skin flaps for gliding. Given the artist impressions, it looked like on of those gliding squirrels to me. Stupid thing was that they had already found the fossil but misinterpreted it, concluded it was some kind of very common mammal and therefore probably used it as a display piece on someones desk, which eventually made the discovery possible. Sometimes a little luck is all you need.... As for this mammal, why couldn't it be real? The type for de
      • I've seen a picture of the fossil (alongside the painted picture) and, assuming the fossill itself hasn't been faked, the cartoon is quite true to the fossil.
    • Re:prolly a fake (Score:5, Informative)

      by krayzkrok (889340) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:03AM (#17323162) Homepage
      Everyone seems to be missing the point of this discovery (including most news agencies who think it's a cool story). Bifurcation of the head is a pretty common genetic abnormality in a number of vertebrates, but especially reptiles because eggs are exposed to a wider range of temperature extremes. High temperatures during incubation, particularly early in incubation, very often lead to genetic abnormalities. A "hot" crocodile or turtle nest, for example, will give you a lot of dead, deformed embryos including those with two tails, no jaws, two heads, and any other number of strange mutations. It's exceptionally rare for one to survive past hatching, but it has happened.

      So basically these guys have discovered a fossilised embryo that was deformed during incubation, not a two-headed monster that terrorised the Cretaceous. It's neat to find one, but it's not a particularly novel discovery IMO.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Spinalcold (955025)
        Fake is the wrong word, and "not a novel discovery" is a huge understatement. Since we see reptiles deformed now doesn't mean they always had this genetic problem. This is a confirmation of a theory if nothing else. I think it's an amazing discovery, even if it was a predictable abnormality.
        • by krayzkrok (889340)
          Not really. It just shows that 160 mya temperature also led to genetic abnormalities during incubation. That's not news - the fact that extreme temperature affects cellular mitosis goes back a hell of a lot further than the dinosaurs.
  • by gardyloo (512791) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:07AM (#17322302)
    Especially after seeing the photo of a sketch of some cartoon character at the story.
  • The 2 headed reptile does not even hold a candle to this 7 legged deer!!! http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,236483,00.html [foxnews.com] More pictures: http://www.mdwfp.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=245 89 [mdwfp.com]
    • The 2 headed reptile does not even hold a candle to this 7 legged deer!!!

      I remember a story about a guy who was found to have the dead embryo of his identical twin brother inside his body. Looks like the twin got too close to him in early development and developed for a while inside his body. I wonder if this is a similar case. Perhaps there is another deer inside this deer.

      • by MBGMorden (803437)
        Fetus in fetu is what this is commonly called ( more "official" name being "Parasitic Twin" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasitic_twin [wikipedia.org]). The embryo need not be dead. They often survive within the host and grow with them. I've seen a documentary where they took one out of a 7 year old boy. It was a about the size of a watermelon and had long black hair about a foot in length. My brother was over at the time and (jokingly) proclaimed it to be the first actual demon he's ever saw :).
      • by blugu64 (633729)
        I feel like a nerd for thinking of this but wasn't that also an X-Files episode?
  • We've seen two-headed animals [youtube.com] from China before. Apparently the pollution there is getting so bad it's going back in time!
  • Latin name? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:11AM (#17322334)
    I don't know what Latin name they're going to give this two-headed creature, but it seems like they should try to squeeze "zaphod" in there somewhere.
    • Re:Latin name? (Score:5, Informative)

      by aeschenkarnos (517917) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:18AM (#17322374)
      Things only get Latin names if they're new species. This is a malformation that afflicts an individual member of a species that may or may not already be known. It certainly deserves an individual name (like the Australopithecus "Lucy"), and Zaphod is a good choice.
      • Things only get Latin names if they're new species. It certainly deserves an individual name (like the Australopithecus "Lucy")
        How about Claudius?
         
      • And even then, they're not always "Latin" names; specific epiphets are rarely latin (often Greek, often "latinised" names). Genera, families, classes etc... none of them have to be Latin.
    • by Viraptor (898832)
      Mod parent funny, damn it!
      It deserves Zaphod's name! They both do... (tagged: zaphod)

      Anyway - what are the chances, that it fell from sky, when the improbability shields weren't up?
    • If it's that far back in time, wouldn't "Zipo 5x10^6" be a touch more accurate?
  • So someone found the American Communist Party buried in China?! Jimmy Hoffa and Elvis are bound to show up next!
  • by monoqlith (610041) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:32AM (#17322444)
    So that's where Karl Rove went!
  • by gsn (989808) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:39AM (#17322462)
    The beebs article has slightly more details and a picture of the actual fossil and a two headed snake.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6195345.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    I'm not a biologist so does anyone know if the second head is fully functional? I'd have thought there'd be serious blood flow issues and it'd be unlikely for these animals to live very long but the snake at the bottom of the article doesn't look young. Does it act as a redundant system used only if the primary one fails or do they actually process stimuli from both heads? What happens if the stimuli are conflicting? Can someone point me towards anything on decesion making in these creatures or are they just not enough to study this. The beeb article says something vague about the condition being due to damage to the embryo possibly. What sort of damage? and how accepted is this?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by glwtta (532858)
      Does it act as a redundant system used only if the primary one fails or do they actually process stimuli from both heads?

      As far as I know, animals don't work that way - all "redundant" systems are always active, they just have enough "capacity" to pick up the slack if one part fails.

      I seem to recall and article about a two-headed turtle. The dude who owned it said that it generally seemed to get around ok; though sometimes the heads would fight over food and such. But then it's a turtle, they aren't
      • by DrYak (748999) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @06:55AM (#17323528) Homepage
        which is probably why you never see this in anything more advanced than reptiles


        You DO [wikipedia.org] see polycephaly in things more advanced than reptiles, although it's less frequent.

        (And a greater part of the organism is redundant in mammals that survive, as in the above Siamese twins).
        • by glwtta (532858)
          That's very different though, they have 1.5-2 times the normal complement of major organs above the waist. Most importantly, they have two spines that join at the pelvis - nowhere near the amount of "conjoinedness" that the "two-headed" reptiles have. Nobody would call those twin one person with two heads; it's not as clear-cut with the reptiles.
          • nowhere near the amount of "conjoinedness" that the "two-headed" reptiles have.

            Yeah and on the other hand, the Siamese twins appear to be very alive, whereas the double headed dinosaur (split only above the neck) is the fossil of a dead *embryo* (or newly hatched) not the fossil of something that happen to have lived a healthy life and died of old age.

            (And I could also add that on the outer, the Siamese twins look like an actual single body with two heads. Also we have only fossil records of the bones of th

    • Back in the mid '50s the San Diego Zoo had a two-headed snake. I remember seeing it there at different visits over a several-year period. I don't know when it died, or how long it lived, but it did live for several years that I can remember. How long it would have lived in the wild is another question, and one I can't answer.
    • I'm not a biologist so does anyone know if the second head is fully functional?

      Ummm... It's long dead and fossilized. I really doubt if it's still functional.
    • by Stanza (35421)
      Interestingly enough, I find on the "Most Read" box right next to that article, is an article of a woman with two wombs giving birth to three babies....
      href=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6199363.stm [bbc.co.uk]
  • Obligatory (Score:3, Funny)

    by Sneakernets (1026296) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:15AM (#17322570) Journal
    I, for one, welcome our ancient dual-core overlords.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by stonedcat (80201)
      AMD or Pentium?
      • by funfail (970288)
        Pentium means five (penta) heads.
        • Uhm no Pentium does not mean "5 heads" it's an Intel trademark derived from Penta (because courts ruled you couldn't trademark a number e.g. 586). No mention of heads.

          And the lesson is: if you're going to be a pedant expect the same treatment back. Oh and the gp was making a joke.

  • Developmental Flaw? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rhkenji (1021591) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:50AM (#17322676)
    Why is it when something is out of the ordinary, its a flaw? axial bifurcation ('two-headedness') (a well-known developmental flaw among reptile species today such as turtles and snakes).. Every species on earth has a flaw that helps it survive in its environment. As far as I can see, Two Heads are the same as having two hands. Its not a flaw, its a step in evolution. When we see something like 6 fingers in a human, we think its a flaw. Why do we think that these defects are flaw not as step to human evolution? I see no flaw but evolution.
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      I agree.. I have this feeling the story submitter believed it was either not a flaw (that would have been news!) or that the flaw is less common than it is. This just goes to show that the flaw happened in the past as well as now, which I don't think many really doubted or anything either.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kripkenstein (913150)
      When we see something like 6 fingers in a human, we think its a flaw. Why do we think that these defects are flaw not as step to human evolution?

      You are right on the mark. Deciding what is a 'flaw' is a cultural decision, a matter of opinion. There is no objective truth here. Is short stature a 'flaw' in Pygmies? Perhaps the Pygmies think otherwise; perhaps we all might think otherwise if tomorrow some predator existed that attacked only tall people and virtually wiped them all out, or a food source app
      • by 4D6963 (933028)

        You are right on the mark. Deciding what is a 'flaw' is a cultural decision, a matter of opinion. There is no objective truth here. Is short stature a 'flaw' in Pygmies?

        Spare me that bullcrap. Two-headed reptiles hardly can even get to live old enough to reproduce themselves, it's not a motherfucking cultural decision to say that it's a flaw, they just don't get to survive and carry their flaw on, one out of a few thousands of them mutates into having two heads and die without passing its flaw on. Now Pyg

    • by funfail (970288)
      It is not evolution, it is a mutation. In order to call a mutation evolution, the mutation should be beneficial such that the creature can evade its predators better, breed better etc. Two headedness do not seem to possess evolutionary features as although the mutation exists in a million years, we apparently still don't see an increasing number of two headed reptiles. That leads us to the conclusion that single headed reptiles has an advantage over two headed reptiles, therefore evolution favors single hea
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bottlemaster (449635)

      Why is it when something is out of the ordinary, its a flaw?

      Well, the fact that there isn't a species (that I know of) of animal that consistantly has multiple heads, I'm going to assume that this phenomenon is detrimental. Nature has allowed a lot of strange things to survive and perpetuate, but it hasn't encourage multiple-headed animals. So it probably is a flaw.

      That said, I do see your reasoning. I see this all the time in psychology and whatnot. Anything that hinders a person's ability to function

    • by McWilde (643703) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @04:46AM (#17323096) Homepage
      It's probably called a flaw because the development of the extra head isn't determined by the creature's genes. It's a trait that can't be passed to its offspring, so it has no part in evolution.
    • It could be a flaw, or it could be an advantage. Just because it's different or abnormal doesn't mean that it is a flaw -- it makes sense to reserve judgement and see how well the difference confers evolutionary advantages. Since the vast majority of animals seem to get by with a single head, it suggests strongly that two heads are not better than one. But the reasons why are likely to be interesting and merit study.

      As far as potential reasons, I can think of several likely reasons.
      • It could be that devo
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 4D6963 (933028)

      As far as I can see, Two Heads are the same as having two hands. Its not a flaw, its a step in evolution.

      I saw in an article about a two-headed snake that 1 of 10,000 snakes have that flaw and that they usually don't live long mainly because they got trouble eating. Please next time don't claim with so much confidence such a thing as "it's not a flaw but a step in evolution" when it couldn't be a step in evolution since two headed reptiles hardly can make it to reproduction. It's not about deciding whethe

      • by James McP (3700)
        Actually, it is a step in evolution. Though it might be categorized more accurately as a mis-step. If, and I stress the 'if', it turned out that 2 heads were better at detecting danger, gathering food, or finding a mate, then animals who had a genetic propensity for embryonic twins comingling or developing two heads would prosper and become common.

        Since it hasn't worked, it obviously is not a beneficial mutation. However given the relative commonness of this significant developmental deviation, it must b
        • by 4D6963 (933028)

          Actually, it is a step in evolution.

          Yes, and I agree with your whole post, however the GP obviously not meant it was a mis-step, more like a whole new better thing the whole species could move on to.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Two-headed reptile. 160 million years old.

    Yup, that's her.
  • Look buddy, if it didn't have three heads and a Heart of Gold, it's not newsworthy!

    - RG>
  • I think some people may begin to make their own conclusions about that discovery and some will try to find a place for the creature in the evolution scale. But this is dangerous. There are freaks in any species. There have been 2 headed humans as well. Imagine if life in the Earth ends, and some ET, after millions of years, happens to find on Earth the rests of such a missformed human been and makes the conclussion that there was a variety of life in the Earth which lived with 2 heads....

  • pfft... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by revery (456516) <charles@NosPam.cac2.net> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:17AM (#17322770) Homepage
    Axial bifurcation is nothing special. But axial trifurcation, on a dog, well that's called a Hades special [wikipedia.org]... and yeah, Orthrus [wikipedia.org] is totally jealous.

    P.S. Also, don't mention his little brother Chimi. That dog will bite you...
  • next to the fossil, the researchers just found the burned remains of a small humanoid creature, and a golden ring....
    The scientists continue to fight over who gets to keep The precioussssss (Ring).
  • Today scientists discovered remains of humans, believed to live 10 billion years ago, with two heads...

    Seriously - unless the fact that siamese twins existed today was well documented, how else would scientists know hundreds of years from now how Humans looked like, and more importantly, how would they know that twin headed babies had actually nothing to do with evolution?

    I expect all animal species to have similar flukes - I have personally seen it in chickens and cows. The problem is that in ancient ti

  • by NoMaster (142776) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @04:25AM (#17323024) Homepage Journal
    Not to be outdone, Japanese scientists have discovered a three-headed monster [wikipedia.org] with two legs, bat-like wings, and two tails.

    Tokyo residents are fearfully awaiting the appearance of a giant moth and two tiny priestesses...

  • ...to feed these two headed creatures, that is.

  • In Soviet Russia the coat of arms [wikipedia.org] founds YOU!
  • Two headed fossil found!!!
    Amazingly, right next to this was another amazing find, a similar species with two tails!
  • by ProppaT (557551) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @09:10AM (#17324324) Homepage
    There have been retarded turtles roaming the earth for 150 million years now. God speed, retarded little turtles....God speed.
  • Given that Intelligent Design is the one-true-truth to the 'Pubs and the fact that they're busy talking out of both sides of their mouths about their original goals and plans for the Iraq war I propose we replace their mascot with this lizard.
  • Check out this video from a couple nights ago on the Learning Channel...

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZzvKNGoIVwc [youtube.com]

    You think a two-headed reptile is interesting.... Check this out.

  • "A tiny skeleton from the Early Cretaceous shows an embryonic or newborn reptile with two heads and two necks, called axial bifurcation ('two-headedness') (a well-known developmental flaw among reptile species today such as turtles and snakes) was...recovered from the Yixian Formation, which is nearly 150 million years old."


    So God's been fucking up his engineering for a lot longer than 6,000 years?!?!?

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