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|Common Name: ||cyclops piglet skull |
|Scientific Name: ||Sus Scrofa / S. domecticus|
This specimen is a 100% genuine deformed piglet suffering from the cyclopic mutation. This is NOT a gaff, but a very rare occurence in nature.
The skull has been cleaned and sealed using acrylic lacquer to protect it against bacterial and funal infestation. The skull shown here has been stained to look aged.
This mutation is the result of a deficiency in the gene named Sonic the Hedgehog. SHH was originally discovered in fruit flies when it was found that a mutation in this gene caused hairs to grow from fruit fly larvae resulting in the appearance of a hedgehog.
In mammals this gene controls bilateralism. If a there is a lack of Sonic Hedgehog during embryonic development the hemispheres of the forebrain fuse together into a single unit resulting in the formation of one singular eye and no pituitary gland. As a result, the skull has no choice but to form around the single existing eye leaving the animalís nose to grow a out of the forehead into an ill defined trunk-like proboscis. Other associated defects are the incredible under-bite resultant from developmental problems in the upper palette and one singular cheek bone which traverses the entire fore-section of the skull.
An excess of the SHH gene causes another common mutation which is the development of two fully a developed faces sharing between them three eyes rather than two.