Just because most mutants don't gain special powers doesn't make them any less interesting. Case and point, this snake discovered the other day in Southwest China. Looking at the picture, you should be able to figure out what makes this snake different from most. Namely, the weird clawed limb sticking out of its side.
Dean Qiongxiu, the woman who found the snake, claims she discovered it stuck to the wall of her bedroom. Shocked and scared, Qiongxiu proceeded to beat the snake to death with her shoe, before preserving the beast in a jar of alcohol.
Obviously, this being a natural oddity from China with no independent verification, there's a good chance it's just a skillfull taxidermy hoax. However, nothing in biology prohibits such a mutation.
Some snakes have the remains of hips, and vestigial remnants of limbs, around their cloaca. Additionally, all snake genomes contain the DNA needed to produce a limb, so the mutation could occur with a little tweak of some Hox genes--those that dictate the body's structural plan. Pollution has been shown to cause Hox gene mutations in frogs, and considering the level of pollution in China, it's not a giant intellectual leap to imagine the same thing happening to a snake.
Currently, scientists at West Normal University in Nanchang, China, are performing an autopsy to determine whether or not this represents a novel mutation, or if this strange chimera is simply a fabrication.
[via The Daily Telegraph]
the term Chimera is improperly used. This animal is not a chimera, that term doesn't refer to this type of mutation.
The chick killed it?!
Way to bring the Darwin Train to a screeching halt...
running snakes would have been sweeeeeeeeeeet.
cccccccoooooooooooolllllllllllll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wonder if i can have it as a pet.
i wish i was part of this chat about the lame macs
"...performing an autopsy to determine whether or not this represents a novel mutation, or if this strange chimera is simply a fabrication."
Well.. first.. an autopsy by definetion is done to determine cause of death - in this case... a womens shoe.. second, Do you really need need to perform a surgical clinical examination to tell if somone has grafted a foot on the side of a snake...
Ninja, that reminds me...
I'm waiting for the mutation of flying spiders.
did you see that!!!
o wait it's what i don't see....
where is the shadow?
what? there is none?
wow that so cool!!!
Creepy, to the extreem. I hope it is just a taxidermy hoax, but then again, it would be interesting if it was real.
@zombieninja they do have running snakes they are called lizards. . .
*wonders if Chinese feel picked on, making fun of there wooden helicopters, thinking there mutant snakes are taxidermied, pollution, human rights... At least the Chinese don't go around putting rubber gorilla suites in there freezers.
On another note, I want to see this snake cloned 1000 times. Breed it with all sorts of other snakes, after a little selective breeding we might end up with Chinese dragons; how cool would that be?
nice catch, i wouldve never looked for it myself.
I think this gives more weight to the panspermia hypothesis. And that all life on earth is based on the same genome carefully designed by some extra-terrestial intelligence.
Each species simply switches-on a differnet set of genes.
Either that, or viruses have transposons that can shift large DNA sequences from one species to another.
It must have been frustrating for the snake. With a foot on only one side it must have always found itself running around in circles! Poor snake.
I agree with you the photo has no shadow so it must be photoshopped. But then again this stuff does happen so even if this is fake there may very well be a snake out there that has mutated like this to some degree.
There is a shadow, but it's coming almost directly from left side of photo. Thus, the shadow of the foot falls onto the shadow of the main body and is not visible (at least not without computer photo analysis).
Also, this is not a hoax at all. There's no reason that it would be a hoax. About 1 snake each year is found with a foot, and many more are born with two heads and survive just fine. This type of mutation is not unknown, it's just rare. It especially occurs in response to environmental toxins. This is not the original article about this snake. The source article mentioned all of the details I just repeated above. Just google some image of mutations, and you'll get tons of this sort of thing.
Since I'm not an expert (at all) in photo analysis and I don't have photo-analysis software anyway, I'm not going to make a flat assertion regarding whether this is a fake photo or not.
However, I went back and looked at it, at length, twice, and the explanation that the appendage's shadow is lost in the larger shadow of the body looks to be a distinct possibility, given the apparent approximate angle of the sun (either roughly mid-morning or midafternoon?).
This looks shopped. I can tell from some of the pixels and from seeing a few shops in my time.