The Lamb with a Human Face

Daily Telegraph

That’s right, it is exactly what you think it is. It’s a lamb with a human face… at least, according to the local governor where this unfortunate lamb was stillborn in Turkey. He said:

It is really embarrassing. The head belongs to a man while the body is that of a goat. This is evident that an adult human being was responsible. Evil powers caused this person to lose self control. We often hear cases of human beings who commit bestiality but this is the first time for such an act to produce a product with human features.

OK then.

In fact, probably not so much. A human would be unable to impregnate a sheep at all; our genetic makeups are far too different. This poor lamb was an unfortunate “100% pure sheep” mutation, and probably had very little chance of survival.

The governor’s assessment reflects scientific ignorance, and an attempt to explain what he saw within the context of his limited knowledge on the subject. His assumption is not an unreasonable one; generally, when two species that are close enough to interbreed do so, traits from each are apparent in the offspring.

About Brian Dunning

Science writer Brian Dunning is the host and producer of Skeptoid.
This entry was posted in Nature, Pseudoscience and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The Lamb with a Human Face

  1. Ovanes P says:

    I believe if taken to the genetic level. It may be done. through transfers of single chromosomes. Im not a scientist though i believe what einstein said. the limits of the universe are mans imaginations

  2. Laurens says:

    With images such as this, the first thing that comes to my mind is ‘Photoshop’. I’m not very skilled with the program but I think I could quite easily put a human face on a lamb.

    I’m not that well versed in what sheep mutations look like, but how likely is one that makes an uncanny resemblance to a human face? I’d say not likely, it would require too many mutations occurring in synch with each other, and having the astronomical good luck (if you can call it good) to create a phenotype with a human looking face.

    I call Photoshop on this one!

  3. Luke says:

    @Laurens- But don’t forget Pareidolia (sp?). The face in the picture doesn’t look THAT much like a human face, in the end- from what I see there’s a nose-like lump and a groove or gap where the mouth would be, and maybe some depressions around where the eyes could be. That, and it’s clearly on the animal’s head, which is where faces go. Obviousy photoshop is possible but it doesn’t seem so unlikely that there’s just one lamb whose deformation looks enough like a face to make the illusion work. We just don’t see pictures of the many deformed animals that look NOTHING like people.

  4. Guy McCardle says:

    OMG! I swear that lamb looks a bit like you Brian. Especially the smile. Look at your picture side by side next to the the lamb once. 🙂

  5. Øyvind says:

    Of course “evil forces compelled the man to lose self-control”. Lest people actually be forced to take responsibility for their actions.

  6. Mud says:

    camera angle….baaaaah

  7. Thor says:

    Wow. This is the third “news story” I’ve read that completely mixed up 2 different actual newscasts and portrayed the mishmash as fact. There were 2 different human-faced animals born around the same time, one SHEEP in Turkey, and one GOAT in Africa. Doesn’t anyone else remember reading the different stories?! The quotes above in this one even mention a goat instead of a sheep!

  8. Dani J says:

    Let’s remark on the real anomalies, shall we?

    Granted, these aren’t really faces, they’re just markings that look like faces, but WOW!

  9. Human DNA has been placed in farm animals by Gene splicing. One purpose is to extract certain human proteins from their milk for drugs. Some efforts have been made to GM hogs with human DNA so that for organ transplants. The animals involved did not develop any visible human features. The nature of such projects means that many politicians and clergy would be uneasy about them. Even more people, myself included would strongly oppose the more “direct” approach.

  10. Michael Wants an Answer says:

    OMG… I HAVE SEARCHED AND SEARCHED…. I don’t want a “probably not” … So many people have this issue with mixed answers… Can a man get a sheep pregnant? Somebody must have a defenaitive Answer… Everybody says yes, Everybody says No… So many say Maybe…. It’s incredibaly frustrating that this issue can’t be settled with and Absolute Answer with Rational Explanation. I don’t care about the right and wrong of it and I certainly don’t care about any religious dogma regarding it…. It’s either possible or impossible … As I child I heard stories of dead fetuses found in pastures and in fact my own 60+ dad just insisted it can happen but my understanding of the science says humand sperm CAN NOT fertilize or impregnate across species…. SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP…. no “maybe” answers

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