Monday, January 16, 2006

Kitten with one eye

Cy, short for Cyclopes, a kitten born with only one eye and no nose, is shown in this photo provided by its owner in Redmond, Oregon, on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005. The kitten, a ragdoll breed, which died after living for one day, was one of two in the litter. Its sibling was born normal and healthy. (AP Photo/Traci Allen)

OK, so this entry isn't about human anatomy, but the condition called cyclopia can occur in humans, too. Cyclopia is a variety of holoprosencephaly, a congenital malformation of the forebrain and parts of the skull and face. Fortunately (for them), babies with cyclopia don't survive for long. IMO the most astonishing congenital anomaly is cephalopagus (or janiceps) conjoined twins, in which the twins have a single skull with two faces looking in opposite directions (like the Roman God Janus). Although the faces may look normal, each face is actually composed of two fused half-faces, one from each twin! A few years ago I stumbled across a janiceps specimen in an old embryology collection in our anatomy department. Given that the incidence is something like 1 in 3,000,000 births (according to a recent case report), these specimens must be extraordinarily rare. I plan to photograph it before I leave this summer (update: here are the photographs).

Here's an article written by the AP in response to the initial skepticism about the one-eyed kitty photo: One-Eyed Cat Had Medical Condition. I'm not sure how long the article is going to remain online so I'll keep a copy in my (offline) archives.


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