five legged holy cow (india)

five legged holy cow (india), 5 legged cow, baby cow, calf, five legged cow, holy cow, leg, offerings, painted, polymelia, sai baba, varanasi
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five legged holy cow (india)

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This calf has an extra leg attached to the top of her neck. This is a birth defect called Polymelia, where conjoint twins starts developing but one twin degenerated completely except for one or more limbs, which end up attached to the other twin.

With cows, the one or two extra limbs are often attached to the top of the cow's neck. This extra legs are shrunken, deformed and non-functional, and they get strange long nails (since the nails on normal cow legs get worn by walking).

In India, when a calf is born with extra leg or two, this is like winning the jackpot: those 5 legged and 6 legged cows are seen are very holy, and the owner will parade them around and receive donations from Hindu devotees.

These two calves (one with 5 legs, and the other one with 6 legs) were transported around the city in a specially designed motor rickshaw, covered with images of the famous "Sai Baba" (not sure why).

For more info about Polymelia, go to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polymelia.

Photo taken in Varanasi - also known as Benares (India).

For more info about Varanasi, go to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varanasi.

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Photo taken on February 2, 2013
Sonapura Road, Ramapura Luxa, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001, India