A Child Born With 2 Heads, One Atop the Other, Had a Condition Caused by an Extremely Rare Type of Parasitic Twinning

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There is an account of a two-headed baby being born in a village in India. This is a historical anecdote that has been passed down through oral tradition.

The two-headed boy of Bengal had a rare condition known as craniopagus parasiticus, which is a type of parasitic twinning where the partially formed twin becomes attached to the head of a fully formed twin. In some cases, the partially formed twin's head may be positioned in a way that gives the appearance of two heads sitting on top of one another, although the specific details can vary depending on the individual case.

This condition is extremely rare, occurring in only 2 to 3 out of every 5 million births. During fetal development, twins may start to form, but for various reasons, the process of separation is not completed, leading to various forms of parasitic twinning.

At that time, an observer named Colonel Pierce mentioned the two-headed boy to the President of the Royal Society, and through him, to a surgeon named Everard Home.

In an unfortunate situation, the Bengali boy died from a snake bite while left unattended. Research has it that parasitic conjoined twins, such as the two-headed boy of Bengal, often face significant health challenges and have a high risk of stillbirth or death shortly after birth. This is because the partially formed twin is not a viable organism on its own and is dependent on the more fully developed twin for survival. The fully developed twin may also experience complications due to the presence of the parasitic twin, such as issues with circulation, respiration, or digestion.

Given the challenges associated with parasitic twinning, it is remarkable that the two-headed boy of Bengal was able to survive for as long as he did. The exact factors that contributed to his survival are not clear, as each case of parasitic twinning is unique and can vary in terms of the specific health challenges involved.

The handling of the boy's remains and the display of his skull is a complex issue that raises questions about ethics, cultural sensitivity, and respect for human remains. The boy's skull was brought to England and handed over to Everard Home, and it was eventually put on display at the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of London.

The display of human remains can also raise concerns about the ethics of acquiring and possessing human remains, particularly when they were obtained through colonial or other oppressive practices. I think it is important to consider the context and motivations behind the display of human remains in museums and other settings, as well as the potential effects on the descendants and cultural communities of the individuals whose remains are displayed.

It is not uncommon for people throughout history to react with fear, superstition, or misperceptions to the sight of rare or unusual physical anomalies. Thankfully, our understanding of medicine and human biology has advanced significantly since then, and we now have a better appreciation for the uniqueness and diversity of human beings.

It is not uncommon for people with unique or rare conditions to be subjected to public scrutiny and treated as objects of curiosity or entertainment rather than as human beings with dignity and worth. Every individual deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their physical appearance or condition.

It is worthy of note that the exploitation and commercialization of individuals with physical or medical differences is a deeply concerning issue that has occurred throughout history in various forms, hence, it is important to recognize that such practices are unethical and can have harmful effects on the individuals involved.


“Rare Cases of a Two-Headed Twin With One Body.” Verywell Family, 19 Nov. 2020.

@ClevelandClinic. “Parasitic Twin: Causes, Diagnosis and Removal.” Cleveland Clinic.

Nega, Wassihun, et al. “Craniopagus Parasiticus – a Parasitic Head Protruding From Temporal Area of Cranium: A Case Report - Journal of Medical Case Reports.” BioMed Central, 1 Dec. 2016.

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