07 January 2014
Siamese Twin Gray Whales
Scientists in Mexico's Scammon's Lagoon have discovered what they think might be the first ever case of Siamese twin gray whales.
Siamese twins, also known as conjoined twins, come from a single fertilised egg, so they are always identical and always the same sex. Instead of separating fully and growing into two separate babies, some of the egg’s cells stay linked and fuse the twins together.
Examples have been seen in many other animal species, including humans, and whale species including fin and minke whales, but never gray whales.
Sadly these twins did not survive and were most likely miscarried by their mum.
At this time of year, gray whales are arriving in lagoons along Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, after undertaking a mammoth 6,000-mile journey from the cold Arctic waters in the north. Usually, they give birth during the journey, or once they've arrived in the lagoons. They'll then stay in the warm, quiet waters for several weeks, nursing their calves and resting before starting on the return journey, back to their feeding grounds in the Arctic.
Find out more about gray whales.