A sheep in South Africa has given birth to a badly deformed lamb that has the features of a human, lending credence to speculations that it could have been impregnated by a man.

The Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform which confirmed the authenticity of the strange birth, showed pictures of the lamb to show that the claims were not a hoax.

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Heraldlive reports that the deformed half-lamb, half-human stillborn creature was born in the Lady Frere area with the Chief Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Lubabalo Mrwebi, saying that it was not uncommon for pregnant animals to be infected by viruses early in their pregnancy.

“We call on the local community not to panic over this deformed lamb. We can confirm that this deformed lamb is not a progeny of sheep ovum and a human sperm.

Virus infections in early stages of pregnancy may infect the foetus and lead to the development of malformations in the growing foetus. It is likely that this is what happened to the Lady Frere sheep.

The gestation period for a sheep is five months. This means that this particular sheep conceived in late December 2016 or early January 2017‚ which was warm with plentiful rainfall in the Chris Hani district‚ conditions which are favourable to the proliferation of mosquitoes and midges known to be the vectors of viruses that cause such diseases such as the Rift Valley Fever (RVF).

The resultant circulation of the virus in the blood found its way through the maternal blood into the uterus and the foetus‚ which was at a very critical stage of development. The infected foetus then‚ as a result‚ failed to form properly‚ leading to the deformity that it became‚” Dr. Mrwebi said.

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However, many residents in the rural community have taken the explanation of Dr. Mrwebi with a pinch of the salt with many believing that the strange lamb was as a result of a man secretly having sex with the sheep and could have been responsible for the human features in the lamb.