A Godly Goat
In mid-January of 2020, locals in Nimodia village on the outskirts of Jaipur, Rajasthan, in northwest India, received a surprise after the birth of a baby goat. They were stunned to see a tiny animal with a flat face and eyes which appeared remarkably human. The goat’s owner, Mukeshji Prajapap, first unveiled his flat-faced goat on film showing it wagging its tail and stumbling around. Images and clips of this oddity have quickly gone viral after they were posted on social media in India.
At first, the strange looking animal left the villagers mystified as its inexplicable facial structure made the goat look like a deformed elderly human. However, the goat began to be viewed as an omen. Goats may be considered a holy animal in India, although Hinduism names the cow, monkey, snake, elephant and tiger among its five holiest animals. bHowever, goats are named in part of the Vedas, Hindu religious texts, as an animal of importance, potentially for sacrifice. With them the sacrifice is associated with the seeking of blessings, feasts, and generosity. Additionally, in India, any animals born with some kind of rare and unique feature may attract attention as many consider them to be a sign of God. And this isn’t the first time a mutated goat was born in India.
The goat is expected to be suffering from a congenital defect known as Cyclopia, which is a very rare syndrome of severing facial dysmorphism. Cyclopia is a severe form of a disorder called holoprosencephaly, which emerges during fetal development when the brain doesn't divide into two distinct hemispheres. As the genes defect, facial symmetry collapses. A fetus with cyclopia fails to develop two eye cavities, instead forming a single central eye cavity that can contain one oversize eye or two partially fused eyeballs.
It is unclear what causes cyclopia, though scientists have suggested it may be linked to excessive levels of toxins produced naturally by pregnant mothers. These toxins inhibit cholesterol's movement within a developing embryo, disrupting a signal that shapes a number of body parts in a growing fetus, including its face and brain. Typically one in 16,000 animals is born with cyclopia, which also affects humans, at an average of one in every 100,000 births.
In May of 2017, at the home of Mukhuri Das in Assam, India, a black goat was born with one large eye in the center of its forehead. The same animal had only one complete ear, a lack of a true nose, eyelids and eyelashes, and unusually small and missing teeth. The tongue — which was a normal size — would stick out on one side. Vets predicted that the blind goat would die within days but defied expectations when it was reported to still be alive over a week later.
In August of 2017, in San Luis province of central Argentina, a goat was born with protruding eyes and a flat, human-like face. The baby goat, who was sadly stillborn, attracted international attention when owner Gladys Oveido’s daughter-in-law shared a video of it on social media. Some of the neighbors were so appalled by the sight that they shared the images with local police who quickly dispatched an officer to investigate.
In February of 2018, a three-day-old baby goat became received international media coverage, born with one eye on a remote farm in Sabah, Malaysia. Goat herder Awang Rosli Mat Taib said that he heard strange noises the night before - when the mother went into labor - and then discovered the newborn in the morning. The baby goat could not suckle his mother and needed to be fed milk using a small syringe as the congenital disease had also affected his mouth. Neighbors flocked to see the one-eyed kid and were mesmerized by what they saw.
Veterinarians were stunned when a mutant calf was born in the village of Villa Ana in northern Argentina in September of 2019, with a small nose and mouth and resembled a grumpy human face. It struggled to hold up its head and also had a malformed skull. It would 'moo' very weakly and was attempting to graze in the field when the unnamed owner first discovered the creature. Vets desperately tried to help the calf, but it only lived for a couple of hours.
Also in 2019, a goat in the Philippines gave birth to an unusual-looking animal, which some have said looked 'half-human, half-pig'. Farmer Josephine Repique, from Sultan Kudarat, called in a vet to perform a caesarean section on her pregnant goat and they removed one healthy kid - however, the other one was pulled out to gasps of surprise. It was born without fur and had shiny, pale skin with trotters and what appeared to be a belly button. It was also much bigger than its sibling. Shortly after giving birth the mother and both babies died, prompting fears among some villagers that it was 'a cursed mutant devil'.