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The Anatomy... Two-Headed Snake

The Anatomy... Two-Headed Snake

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Two Head Snake
Two Head Snake

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: draculavanhelsing on Nov 04, 2011
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05/25/2012

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THE
ANATOMY
OF
A
DOUBLE-HEADED
SNAKE
BY
W.
J.
HEASMAN
Senior
Curator,
University
Museum
of
Zoology,
Cambridge
CONTENTS
PAGE
Introduction.
.
331
Material.
.
332External
features.
.
332
The
axial
skeleton
and
nervous
system
.
333
The
alimentarysystem
.
.
.
334
The
respiratory
system
.
..
335
The
vascular
system
.
.
.
336
The
excretory
and
reproductive
systems
.
-339
Discussion
Behaviour.
.
.
339
The
line
of
fusion
and
specific
differences
339
Causes
of
the
abnormality
.
341
Conclusions.
..
.
343
References
.
.
.
345
INTRODUCTION
RECENT
advances
in
experimental
embryologyhave
indicatedthat
abnormal
embryos
may
be
induced
to
develop
fromnormal
eggs
by
any
of
a
number
of
external
conditions.
While
investigation
of
teratological
phenomena
may
provide
valuable
cluesfor
understandingnormal
processes
there
is
a
strikingdifference
between
theproducts
of
experimental
embryology
and
thenaturallyoccurring
teratological
specimens.
The
former
do
not
appear
to
be
capable
of
reaching
a
post-embryonic
condition
evenunder
the
favourable
conditions
possible
in
a
laboratory,
while
examples
of
the
latter
category
whichhave
been
recorded
have
usually
reached
thislater
stage
and
in
a
few
instances
have
been
sufficiently
well
adjusted
to
their
environment
to
become
mature.
It
is
possible
that
this
difference
between
artificially
produced
and
naturally
occurring
specimens
is
due
to
selection
from
a
much
larger
number
of
unobserved
natu-
rally
occurring
abnormal
forms,
but
we
are
nevertheless
faced
with
the
problem
of
how
individuals
with
unusual
organisations
are
readjusted
so
that
they
will
function
under
natural
conditions.
This
is
but
part
of
the
larger
problem
of
adaptation,
and
before
dealing
with
the
problem
of
how
this
readjustment
is
brought
about
we
do
well
to
enquire
what
modifications
are
to
be
found
in
successful
abnormal
individuals.
Snakes,
with
their
lack
of
lateral
appendages,provide
relatively
simple
teratological
examples,
especially
of
double
monsters,
and
as
theydo
not
occur
frequently
it
is
advisable
to
place
on
record
whatever
informationcanbe
obtained
to
facilitate
comparison
with
any
which
may
be
produced
under
artificial
conditions.
 
332
W.
J.
Heasman
Altogether
since
records
have
been
kept,
some
seventy
cases
of
double-
headed
snakes
have
been
described,
of
which
onlyseven
have
been
dissected
(Redi,
1684;Vsevolojsky,1812;Dutrochet,1829;Dorner,1873;
Borgert,
1896;
Cantoni,
1921;
Strohl,1925).
As
long
ago
as
1684
Redi
made
asdetailed
anexamination
as
has
yet
been
recorded,
and
the
much
more
recent
paper
by
Strohl
gives
no
more
informationabout
his
new
specimen
than
thatthe
creaturepossessed
two
hearts,
one
more
anterior
than
the
otherexhibiting
situs
inversus.
MATERIAL
The
present
account
is
of
a
maledouble-headed
specimen
of
Coluber
(Zamenis)
florulentus
Schlegel,
University
Museum
of
Zoology,
Cambridge,
No.
R
12960.
It
had
been
captured
at
Cairo
and
preserved
inalcohol.
The
adult
of
thisspecies
reaches
a
lengthof
just
over
1
m.
The
total
length
of
the
pre-
served
specimen
was
25
cm.,
it
was
therefore
probably
quite
young.
Externalfeatures.
No
significantdifference
could
be
detected
in
thelength
or
breadth
of
the
two
heads,
but
whilst
one
headundoubtedly
followedthe
axis
of
the
body
the
otherprojected
at
about
250
to
the
right
of
this
axis
and
was
rotated
on
the
vertebral
column
until
the
angle
between
the
ventral
surfaces
of
the
two
heads
was
about
120°.
That
this
was
not
an
accident
of
fixation
is
indicated
by
the
relation-
ship
of
the
vertebrae.
The
mouthsand
oesophagi
of
both
sides
appeared
to
be
equally
capable
of
functioning.
At
the
level
of
the
second
neck
band,
23
mm.
Ribs
from
the
tip
of
each
snout,
the
integument
of
the
two
"necks"
united
to
form
a
common
invest-
ment.
At
this
point
there
was
a
transverse
and
Anal
Scale
somewhat
stretched
fold
of
skin.
Posterior
to
this
fold
the
two
parts
were
indicated
by
asymmetricalmarking.
A
ventral
groove
extended
for
the
wholelength
of
the
animal
in
the
middle
line,
and
that
this
was
undoubtedly
more
than
a
phenome-
non
of
fixation
was
shown
by
the
fact
that
most
of
the
ventral
scales
had
an
irregularity
which
Tet-ig.
1.owingthraiewoftsen
caling
showing
the
ribs
as
seen
took
the
form
of
a
posteriorlydirected
projection
in
a
transparent
preparation.
tod
the
left
of
the
groove.
An
enlarged
diagram
of
the
anal
region
shows
the
slight
abnormality
of
the
scaling
(text-fig.
1).
A
Spalteholz
transparent
preparation
showed
thattheanal
scale
was
attached
to
two
pairs
of
ribs
and
thatthe
additional
scale
was
without
a
rib
attachment.
At
a
distance
of
2j
cm.
behind
the
fold
of
integument
there
was
a
pronounced
 
The
Anatomy
of
a
Double-headed
Snake
333
bend
in
the
body
axis.
The
accompanying
photographs
make
further
descrip-
tion
of
the
externalfeatures
unnecessary
(see
Plate
I,
figs.
1
and
la).
The
axial
skeleton
and
nervous
system
An
X-ray
photograph
(Plate
I,
fig.
2)
shows
thatthe
bend
in
the
body
axis
occurred
at
thejunction
of
the
right
"neck"
with
that
of
the
main
axis.
The
bend
half-way
along
the
right
vertebral
column
took
place
where
doubling
was
externally
apparent
and
marked
thepoint
at
which
the
right
"neck"
could
move
independently
of
the
left.
Counting
from
the
common
vertebrae
to
this
point,
it
was
possible
to
identify
corresponding
vertebrae
in
the
two
columns;
in
front
correspondence
failed
as
the
left
columnwas
made
up
of
twenty-four
and
the
right
of
twenty-five
vertebrae.
The
junction
between
the
two
columns
extended
overfour
vertebrae.
A~V
K.
7,/
.
*/
,\
~~~~~~/
-A
13
Text-fig.
2.
Transverse
sections
of
vertebrae
close
to
the
confluence
of
the
two
"necks."
Nerve
tissue
stippled.
Skeletal
tissue
cross
hatched.
Serial
sections
of
this
region
show
that
on
passing
backwards
the
approach-
ing
walls
of
the
vertebrae
first
fused
and
then
disappeared,leaving
two
separate
spinal
cords
within
one
vertebra.
The
sagittal
planes
of
these
two
cords
were
then
inclined
at
rather
less
than
300.
The
right
cord
appeared
to
bend
slightly
towards
the
left
and
the
twocame
intocontact,
the
right
cord
slightly
ventral
to
the
left.
Further
backwards
the
central
canals
of
the
spinal
cords
moved
towards
one
another,
the
left
remaining
dorsal
to
the
right.
Finally
the
right
central
canal
turned
upwards
and
ran
into
the
left
canal
(text-fig.
2
a).
Fusion
of
the
two
spinal
cords
occurred
along
a
line
drawn
from
the
dorsal
side
running
backwards
and
downwards
through
the
centralcanals
to
the
ventral
side.
Ventral
to
this
line
two
spinal
cords
couldbe
distinguished,
dorsal
to
it
a
normal
single
spinal
cord.
A
pair
of
abnormal
ventral
rootsarose
where
the
two
spinal
cords
were
closely
applied
to
each
other
but
anterior
to
the
confluence
of
the
two
central

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