Tuesday, March 22, 2011

5 Headed snake in India

5 Headed snake in India
I was so surprised to see this picture when a friend of mine sent it to me. This is a snake found in a temple at Karnataka.
5 Headed snake in India
Looking like a creature from mythology, multi-headed animals occur in real life as conjoined or parasitic twins. It is not just in mythology that creatures are given to have two or more heads. This condition where an animal or human which has more than one head is termed as polycephaly caused due to developmental abnormality during gene mutation.
5 Headed snake in India
Many mythologies like Hindu, Chinese, Greek,etc has references to such a 5 headed snake in their epics. We have so far read about such a snake only in historic stories and epics . I'm sure it will be surprising to most of you as much as myself, to see such a rare species still being alive

Five Headed Cobra Hoax Images

Circulating images supposedly depict a five-headed cobra found at Kukke Subrahmanya, a Hindu temple in the Indian state of Karnataka.
Brief Analysis
The images do not show a real five-headed snake. Four of the images are in fact photographs of normal, one-headed snakes that have been altered in an image manipulation program to appear that the snakes are five-headed. One of the images may show a toy or model that has been staged for the photograph.
Detailed Analysis
Messages that are currently circulating via email, blogs, and social networking websites, claim that set of attached images depict a "rare" five-headed Cobra that was found at Kukke Subrahmanya, a Hindu temple located about 105 km from Mangalore in the state of Karnataka, in southern India. There are two main versions of the messages that contain a different set of five-headed snake images. Both versions claim that the snake was found at Kukke Subrahmanya.
However, none of the five-headed snake pictures are genuine. The three images contained in the first example shown above are in fact nothing more than digitally manipulated versions of a set of photographs that show a normal, one-headed cobra. The following photographs, which have been published on a number of websites, show the original source images used to create the fake five-headed snake images:
5 Headed snake in India
5 Headed snake in India
5 Headed snake in India
Photo Credit: Tien Chiu
The original photographs were taken at a snake farm in Thailand in 2003 by blogger, Tien Chiu. I sent an email to Tien Chiu asking about the photographs and she responded that she indeed took the photographs but the snake was definitely not five-headed. It seems that someone has used Tien Chiu's photographs as the source images for the five-headed snake hoax without her permission or knowledge.
The first image shown in the second example above is also clearly manipulated from a photograph of a normal one-headed cobra. The following close-up screenshot of the image shows how the snake's head in the original photograph was replicated and joined together to create the five-headed manipulation:
The second image in the second example above, may also be a manipulated photograph. However, the strange colouration and shape of the "snake" suggest that it may actually be a model or a toy that has been placed in the water for the photograph. Moreover, although the message suggests that the two images show the same, five-headed snake, it is very clear that the second image does not depict the same snake that is shown in the first image.
5 Headed snake in India
Thus, the supposed five-headed snake shown in these images represent nothing more than the fairly amateurish "photoshopping" work of some unknown prankster. The hoax photographs have circulated widely in India, perhaps accelerated by the fact that a five-headed snake god known as Nagaraja is part of that nation's cultural and religious heritage.
The occurrence of animals, including snakes, with more than one head is not uncommon. The condition is known as Polycephaly. However, while bicephalic (two-headed) or tricephalic (three headed) animals have been well-documented, there are no credible reports of animals with more than three heads. Animals with more than three heads abound in mythology, but do not exist in the real world.

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