In a world where plagues and tsunamis have wiped away whole civilizations, I find it no surprise to learn of a birth deformation known as dipygus. Essentially, dipygus is a congenital deformity where the body splits left-and-right partway along the torso, forming a duplicated pelvis and pair of legs. If you are having trouble forming an image of what this split may look like, here is Myrtle Corbin, a woman who lived with dipygus:
Born in 1868, Myrtle lived for forty years with this birth deformation. During those forty years she had five children. (She had two sets of reproductive organs, and gave birth to some children from one set and the other children from the other set.) Each inner leg was paired with the respective outer leg, so they moved in unison. But her inner legs were too weak to walk on their own. She was married at the age of 19.
Dipygus is not a strictly human condition, however, as we see in the following image:
Yup, that is a six-legged deer, with two separate pelvises, and two tails. The deer was found in 2008, when it was discovered after being attacked by two dogs in Everett Springs, Georgia. The veterinarians that tended to the deer’s wounds said, “Somehow it has a fairly normal gait, although the center legs seem to get in the way.” But this deer is not an isolated incident in the animal kingdom.
Once you get past the adorableness of the previous photo, please note: that is a six-legged puppy. The puppy was found outside the Kwang Sung Temple in Pandarmaran, in 2005. The caretaker of the temple claimed that the dog was of good fortune, thus named the puppy Ong Fatt, or Lucky One. The temple committee then obtained a permit to raise the puppy as part of the temple, which is where Ong Fatt has been ever since his discovery.
While we do not have Halloween costumes that can recreate the wonder of dipygus, I will leave you with a picture of a pig with dipygus at the Ukrainian National Chernobyl Museum in Kiev: