While teenage mutant ninja turtles may be entertaining to imagine, real life mutant reptiles are less amusing to some. No? What about real life snakes with half developed limbs? Someone who can attest to this first hand is Dean Qiongxiu, of Southwest China, who discovered a snake with a claw extremity crawling along the wall of her home. The sight was so unexpectedly disturbing that upon seeing the snake she immediately began to pummel it with her shoe, thus destroying any hopes it may have had of a crime fighting career. The antagonist was discovered as being 16 inches long and the width of a little finger.
This sighting is so odd that people are naturally wondering if it’s authenticity has been fabricated. While this is well founded skepticism, biological science itself does not completely forbid such an occurrence. The skeletons of some snakes are found to bear vestigial structures (the possibility of limbs that would never be used) such as hips and other limbs. In fact, supporting the possibility of authentication is the fact that snakes, indeed, do possess the DNA within their genes required to produce these limbs. Even more in the favor of a genetic mutation is the role that pollution, which China has a lot of, plays in such occurrences. The afflictions resulting from such levels of pollution are evident in the Hox gene mutation found in frogs.
To the benefit of science, after exterminating the one-clawed snake Dean Qiongxiu then preserved it in alcohol and it is now under intense observation and study in Nanchang’s Life Sciences Department at China’s West Normal University. While scientists there agree that this is a highly unsual case, they won’t be able to prove or disprove anything until a thorough autopsy is conducted. In defense of Dean’s Stand Your Ground behavior, such specimens’ success rate in the wild is slim to none and death occurs consequently.