A Soviet scientist attempted something impossible in 1959. Vladimir Demikhov tried to create a living, breathing, two-headed dog. If that sounds like science fiction, you’re not alone. Strangely enough, Demikhov actually succeeded in his quest to create a new kind of dog.
During the summer of 1959, Life Magazine ran a feature on Demikhov and his work. These pictures were featured in the article, and they are outrageously bizarre.
This scene of two dogs resting together doesn’t look so odd at first glance. Though, the framing of the picture is deceptive…
These two dogs are actually attached at the neck, and they are alive.
This is more or less the diagram for Demikhov’s creation of the two-headed dog. Demikhov had his pick of dogs from a local dog catcher. He selected a bigger dog and a smaller one to be surgically attached together.
The disturbing surgery began by sedating both dogs. The body of the smaller dog was removed just below the ribcage. Demikhov and his staff were careful to tie off each of the dog’s blood vessels as they went. The smaller dog’s spine was severed in the end.
The next part involved joining the two animals together. The bigger dog had an incision made at the base of her neck. All of her vital blood vessels were then exposed. The scientists then slowly began to join the two dog’s blood vessels together. The smaller dog retained its heart, lungs, and front paws when all was said and done.
This kind of surgery is never easy.
The surgery was ultimately a success. Both dogs survived their strange ordeal and could move around independent of each other.
Sadly, the newly conjoined dogs did not last long. They both died about four days after the surgery.
While you might be quick to point out how cruel and terrible this experiment was, Demikhov’s work actually accomplished some good. He was the first person to successfully transplant hearts and lungs in animals. This paved the way for human organ transplants.
That does not look like it was a fun surgery for the dogs. However, the newly conjoined dogs actually look happy (or at least normal) in a few of those photos. It’s weird that such a bizarre, mad scientist-type experiment could lead to big advances in medicine.