Thursday, November 01, 2007

A head on a stick

Ian Sample at the Guardian on the New Scientist's top-ten list of peculiar scientific experiments:
One of the most gruesome experiments to make New Scientist's list was performed by the Soviet surgeon Vladimir Demikhov. In 1954 he unveiled a two-headed dog, created in the lab by grafting the head, shoulders and front legs of a puppy on to the neck of a German shepherd dog. Journalists brought in to examine the creature noted how milk dribbled from the stump of the puppy's head when it attempted to lap milk. Occasionally, the two would fight, with the German shepherd trying to shake the puppy off, and the puppy retaliating by biting back.

The unfortunate creation lived for six days, though Dr Demikhov repeated the experiment 19 more times over the next 15 years, with the longest-lived lasting a month. Although the work was dismissed as a publicity stunt outside the Soviet Union, Dr Demikhov was credited with developing intricate surgical techniques that paved the way for the first human heart transplant.
(Courtesy of Nico.)

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