EUGENE M. MCCARTHY, PHD GENETICS
Many creatures arose with double faces and double breasts, offspring of oxen with human faces, and again there sprang up children of men with oxen’s heads.
Fragments, 5th cen. BCE
An alleged stillborn cow-human hybrid birthed by a cow in Thailand in 2009. Note cloven hooves and tail. EnlargeClose-up of the alleged hybrid. Enlarge
Buddhist funeral for an alleged stillborn cow-human hybrid birthed by a cow in Thailand in 2009. Enlarge
Water buffalo. Enlarge
Zebu (Bos indicus) Image: L. Mahin
In Thailand in 2009, a cow is alleged to have given birth to a stillborn creature with a human-like body and head, but with cloven hooves in place of hands and feet (its unclear whether the mother in this case was a zebu or a water buffalo). None of the sources are authoritative (one such site where this event is alleged can be seen here), but the photos are of interest. Apparently, there were such difficulties at birth that the mother cow died, which perhaps caused the death of the weird offspring as well. However that may be, a more recent birth in southeast Asia (recorded in the video above) suggests that such creatures can be viable.
As to the 2009 case, according to the various reports, the birth occurred in a rural setting and locals carried out Buddhist funeral rites, as these pictures show. Residents also made an effort to contact scientists and, in an effort to preserve the strange animal in the tropical heat, kept an electric fan trained on the carcass to keep it cool. It seems, however, that no scientist came quickly enough, and that the villagers either buried, or more likely, cremated the decomposing remains.
As can be seen in the pictures, the body has been coated with juice and talcum powder, as part of the Buddhist rites. The purpose of the ceremony was, in accordance with Buddhist belief, to help the soul of the deceased move on to a more auspicious body in the next life.
It's of interest that both the general appearance of the creature pictured here and the accounts given of it on the internet, agree well (i.e., human-like head with cow-like ears, human-like body, but with a cow-like tail, and cloven hooves in place of hands and feet) with the many accounts of alleged cow-human hybrids quoted elsewhere on this site. In size it is also consistent with those accounts in that it is much closer to the size of a newborn calf than to that of a human newborn.
The various internet reports refer to the mother either as a cow or a buffalo. Since the locale is Thailand, the former would refer to a zebu (Bos indicus), the latter, to a water buffalo (Bubalis bubalus). Pictures of both these animals appear at right.
It's unfortunate that this very recent specimen was not preserved for genetic testing, at least it doesn't seem to have been. (If anyone in Thailand has further information, please share it via the contact page).
By the same author: Handbook of Avian Hybrids of the World, Oxford University Press (2006).
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