Headed Off at the Pass: Our Two-Headed Calf

Posted by Peg Boettcher at

Two-headed bull calf at Ye Olde Curiosity ShopCarried to term by a Friesian-breed cow at Bulsworthy Farm near Launceston, Great Britain, our baby bull developed with two beautifully shaped heads and necks, but -- alas -- only one body. Sadly, the little guy died soon after his mother went into labor. But he was tenderly preserved by the celebrated Victorian taxidermist, Walter Potter, early in the last century. The calf's mother survived the birth (much to the relief of farmer Mike King).


How can this happen? Called “polycephaly,” the Greek word meaning “more than one head” simply enough, the condition usually stems from the fusion of identical twins in the womb. Identical twins form when a single egg that has been fertilized by a single sperm somehow decides to divide into two creatures. Usually the process results in a matched set of adorable babies. But in rare cases, the embryos don’t separate completely. This is the fate that befell our little bovine buddy.


NAME THAT CALF! CONTEST   Help us out, here. We think our little two-headed he-calf has gone without a name long enough, but we are stumped what to call him... them... whatever! Come up with a marvelous moniker and if we choose that name, you'll win a $100 gift certificate towards goods and services at Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. Just think how many goatskin shrunken heads that will buy! We will announce the winner at our Grand Re-Opening in July 2015.
How to Enter: Using as your subject line: NAME THAT CALF ENTRY, simply send an email to with your full name and the name you have chosen for our calf. Enter as many times as you please, but keep in mind that it is a BOY cow.
Small print: Need not be present to win. Winner will be announced at the shop's reopening in July 2015. Winner will receive a gift card good for $100 of merchandise or services at Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. No cash value.


• Buy your very own 2-headed calf bobber! Decorate your car, your windowsill, your work station with this genuinely one-of-a-kind item. So calming, watching it serenely nod its heads through life's daily trials and tribulations. Instant meditation.

Peg Boettcher has been wrangling curios and working for Ye Olde Curiosity Shop since 2004.

Follow Ye Olde Curiosity Shop's board Curiosities at Ye Olde Curiosity Shop on Pinterest.

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