Tuesday, June 27, 2017

"Man-Sheep" Born in South Africa

Here's one more case showing that the paranormal should never be regarded as the default explanation. A "man-sheep" - a lamb that looks like it could be part human - was recently stillborn in South Africa. As usually happens with weird events like these, many fear that bestiality and witchcraft played a role in the conception of the bizarre-looking creature. But veterinarians who examined the body have a different, more prosaic explanation.

The panic got so great that the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development sent out experts to carry out tests after pictures of it spread through the community. Chief Director of Veterinary Services Dr Lubabalo Mrwebi admitted that at first glance the lamb which was born dead did resemble a human being but was not part human.

Dr Mrwebi said: “We can confirm this not a hoax photo but that the severely deformed lamb was born by a sheep in Lady Frere this week which at a glance resembles a human form. “It is not however human but a deformed stillborn lamb sired by a sheep and was subsequently infected by a Rift Valley Fever at an early stage of its pregnancy.

“It is worth noting that a sheep has 28 pairs of chromosomes while humans have 23 pairs which is important in dispelling the myth that a union of a sheep ovum and a human sperm can lead to a development of a viable life form. “The deformed lamb exhibits signs that are consistent with an early foetal development that went wrong as a result of a viral infection and nothing more” he said.

So it's not the result of a spell or animal husbandry gone wrong. It's the result of a viral infection. I suppose somebody could cast a spell that made it more likely for a particular sheep or flock of sheep to catch an infection, but that's about all you could do along these lines with magick. Biological explanations are a lot more compelling.

This isn't the first case of a "man-sheep," so apparently sheep fetuses do go through a stage where they look more human than you might expect. Mostly it's the lack of wool, which is unsurprising for a fetus, and the flattened face, which is a mutation that is bred for and viable in some breeds of dog like pugs.

That raises the possibility of breeding a viable flat-faced sheep. Maybe the result would be too disturbing, but maybe that would be the whole reason to do it in the first place.

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