You may have seen that photo went viral on the internet featuring a pup like a unicorn with a tail growing out of its head. His name is Narwhal, and he’s definitely a cutie – yet according to certain scientists, the purposes for his brow tail aren’t exactly so charming.


Narwhal’s Backstory

Missouri-based special needs dog rescue Mac’s Mission took Narwhal in on Nov. 8 after someone spotted him on the street, and photos of the puppy went viral on Twitter about a week later. Rochelle Steffen, who founded and owns Mac’s Mission, told TIME that the miniature face tail doesn’t affect Narwhal’s day-to-day life, and it doesn’t need to be removed.

“It’s like a Clark Kent hair swoosh,” Steffen told TIME. “It’s not in his way at all. It just stays right in between his eyes and has a little bit of curl under.”

According to Steffen, the vet who initially examined Narwhal said it would be nearly impossible to pinpoint the scientific explanation for his extra tail. But Margret Casal, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, told the New York Times that Narwhal’s extra facial feature is most likely the puppy’s parasitic twin.

A Twin Gone Wrong

Ordinarily, indistinguishable twins structure when treated incipient organism parts into equal parts. If the split happens past the point of no return in a pregnancy, the twins may not completely independent. What’s more, now and then, the incipient organism doesn’t part down the middle by any means – following a lopsided split. One side of the undeveloped organism turns into a full-fledged individual, and different transforms into an additional body part.

Casal pointed out that the little mohawk of in reverse growing hide over Narwhal’s face tail looks like the peak on a dog like a Rhodesian ridgeback, possibly indicating a twin’s posterior all over.

The tail doesn’t contain bones, either. This further backing Casal’s hypothesis, since according to her. The base of a spine can’t create bones except if it gets signals from the highest point of the spine. All things considered, indistinguishable twins among dogs are uncommon, making a dog with a parasitic twin. “Extremely super, excessively uncommon,” as Casal told the New York Times.

Some More Narwhal Facts

The rest of Narwhal’s litter has yet to be found, but the staff at Mac’s Mission are trying to track down the other puppies, according to reporting from Science Alert. They did, however, find an older dog whom they suspect may be Narwhal’s dad.

Rescue laborers trusted Narwhal to be around 10 weeks old in mid-November. And Steffen said he looks like a dachshund blend, possibly with some brilliant retriever in him.

At the point when Narwhal was safeguarded, he’d created frostbite on two of his toes and required medication for worms. Otherwise, he was in incredible wellbeing. What’s more, no – on the grounds that his face tail doesn’t contain bones, it can’t really sway. All things being equal, Narwhal’s internet-based life notoriety has caused them to notice Mac’s Mission. Leading to an influx in appropriation applications for other uncommon needs dogs from the rescue.

“He’s pretty perfect,” Steffen said of Narwhal.