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Mexico’s Laguna Ojo de Liebre is a site of extraordinary ecological and biological interest. The picturesque spot is host to a vast array of astonishing and diverse aquatic life. People in the local area regularly find themselves stunned by the stunning creatures in this bay, but in December 2013 something washed up on the beach that seemed to top even the most impressive oceanic specimens.
This highly unusual specimen was recovered and relocated to a laboratory where scientists charged with investigating and identifying the creature were absolutely stumped. The creature did not appear to be part of any known species of marine animal.
Naturally, marine biologists believe that there are thousands of species not yet known to humankind residing in the deepest levels of the Earth’s oceans. However, if they are found to be close to the surface then this would be a cause for a great deal of alarm as it would suggest that enormous changes were taking place in the deep sea that might have significant ramifications for the health of the entire planet.
As scientists and environmentalists worried about the potential implications posed by the discovery of this specimen, the public imagination was inflamed by their discovery. The creature seemed to bear a striking resemblance to the sea monsters of local mythological.
However, the answer turned out to be much more mundane and much sadder than the sea monster theory. Eventually, the researchers at Laguna Ojo Liebre realized that the specimen was actually not one creature but two. The animal was identified as being conjoined gray whale twins. The researchers assumed that the creature had died at sea after being abandoned because of its disability.
This theory was challenged by American Cetacean Society researcher Alisa Schulman-Janiger who also examined the body. She said that the bodies of the twins were seriously underdeveloped, which suggested that they were probably stillborn. She also said that the width of the twins would have been likely to have caused the death of the mother.
Conjoined twin sea creatures have been identified before this event, but they are still considered something of a rarity. It is believed that this is the only time that gray whale conjoined twins have ever been recovered by scientists.
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