Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Planet Earth

Siamese Swallows in Arkansas? Not So Fast, Expert Says

DiscoblogBy Andrew MosemanJuly 24, 2008 11:58 PM
barn-swallow220.jpg

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

The two barn swallows found in Arkansas last week that looked like conjoined twins might turn out to be much more ordinary. An Arkansas man, Danny Langford, found the pair at his home last week after the birds fell out of their nest and into his life. Unfortunately, they stopped eating soon thereafter and both died. But the find shocked officials from the state Game and Fish Commission, who said conjoined twins were almost unheard of in birds. However, the Smithsonian Institution's Gary Graves says, the explanation might be much simpler. He told National Geographic that one bird may have simply gotten its foot caught in a cut on the other bird, which got stuck after the wound healed. X-rays showed the birds didn't share internal organs, and the two birds had four legs rather than a shared three, as Game and Fish officials first believed. For those reasons, Graves says, it's highly unlikely the two swallows were actually born conjoined. The Smithsonian will perform further tests on the strange birds, hopefully finding out for certain. In the meantime, it's still at least possible that these two swallows could be a one-in-a-million (or more) occurrence. Image: flickr/Velo Steve

    3 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In