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Two-headed calf will be Wisconsin school's teaching tool


A two-headed calf was born and then euthanized on a Wisconsin farm in February. Now there are plans for the mounted double head to be permanently kept by a local high school once the taxidermy is complete.

The Racine Journal Times had a story of the birth at a cattle farm near Dover. The account includes a photograph of the animal. You can see it if you click the link, but it's an image some people may find disturbing.

It's an extremely rare phenomenon known as polyencopholy, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Because the calf was observed moving its two pairs of eyes independently, Katie Hagemann, agriscience teacher at Burlington High School, suspects it could mean the animal has two brains. She was among the teachers and students who saw the calf’s body when it was brought to the school two days after being born.

Burlington High School biology teacher Greg Zeman has already used the calf’s body as a teaching tool.

“As a department, we had just finished a genetics unit and talked about conjoined twins,” he said. “To see something like that, kids were like, ‘This really does happen.’ They were just in awe.”

The two-headed calf is rare but not unheard of. The 2013 book Oddball Wisconsin includes mention of a two headed calf at the Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum in the Wisconsin Dells, which also features the carcass of a six-legged cow. The 2004 book Wisconsin Curiosities by Michael Feldman included a story about the two-headed calf at the Buckhorn Bar in Spooner. The tavern is also noted for being a place where John F. Kennedy used the men's room while campaigning in the area.

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