The Dolakha Baby

Status: Probably real
image (a Nepalese website) has reported the birth of a severely deformed child to a woman in Dolakha. (Warning: the newspaper article contains a possibly disturbing image.) The poor child looks a bit like a mutant muppet doll and created quite a stir in Nepal:

The news about such a baby being brought to the hospital spread like wildfire and there were hundreds gathered at the hospital to have a look. The police had to be deployed to control the crowd.

Someone left a note on the Wikipedia page for April 1, 2006 speculating that the child had anencephaly (a neural tube defect which results in the absence of a major portion of the brain, skull, and scalp). This strikes me as plausible... more plausible than the idea that the baby shown in the picture is an elaborately crafted hoax. (Thanks to Sara for the link... She notes that it looks like a character from The Oblongs TV show.)


Posted on Tue Apr 04, 2006


no way that's real. ew.
what's that saying? a face only a mother could love?
if my newborn were to look like that, I would not parade it around in a <bedpan> miniature bathtub thing all through town. where were they taking it? to the river to drown it?
my goodness...
Posted by thephrog  in  CA USA  on  Tue Apr 04, 2006  at  01:55 AM
Considering it died half an hour after its birth, I don't think it matters.
Posted by Soldant  in  Australia  on  Tue Apr 04, 2006  at  03:58 AM
No way. I've had two kids and been in the delivery room. Messed up or not, the limbs are of the completely wrong proportion and the hands look too developed.
Posted by Andrew  in  HK  on  Tue Apr 04, 2006  at  04:49 AM
Unless the deformity type extends to abnormally long arms and legs, I think it's a hoax. Newborn infants have very short arms and legs -- much shorter than pictured.
Posted by cvirtue  on  Tue Apr 04, 2006  at  04:49 AM
Was the mother ever a prostitute that worked at the bar on Tatooine?
Posted by Lonewatchman  on  Tue Apr 04, 2006  at  05:59 AM
Probably real? Probably not. You have also the story of "the buddha boy" this spring, Ram Bomjani, 16, who supposedly hasn
Posted by batarai  on  Tue Apr 04, 2006  at  06:35 AM
nepal network url:
Posted by batarai  on  Tue Apr 04, 2006  at  06:45 AM
sigh... anyone who had bothered to click on the link alex so helpfully gave us to anencephaly information, and followed the links down at the bottom to images and specimens would have seen that this nepalese child looks EXACTLY like what an anencephalic infant should look like. long limbs, no neck, bulging eyes caused by no skull to hold them in. plus, if it were a hoax who would have made such a thing and why would they model it after a birth-defective child? april fools or not, that baby's real.
Posted by Heidi  on  Tue Apr 04, 2006  at  07:08 AM
This is VERY real birth defect. Here additional information and real images of such problems. They can normally be detected now before birth, but infants born with this usually do not live beyond a few hours:

Anencephaly Information - Anencephaly is a congenital malformation that occurs in approximately one in one thousand pregnancies. Anencephaly is a neural tube defect, just as is spina bifida. Life expectancy for an anencephalic baby is just a few hours, sometimes a few days at most. As the malformation is usually detected during a pre-natal scan, parents are often confronted with a choice between life and death. A choice made with very little information of what is in store for them. It is with this in mind that we have made the choice to share the stories of the brief, but wonderful lifes of our anencephalic babies. I hope that it will be of help to you and impart courage.
Posted by hulitoons  in  Abingdon, Maryland  on  Tue Apr 04, 2006  at  07:30 AM
I had time to follow links, later. Ok, so it might be real. Why the heck parade it through the streets? The poor thing should be given a decent burial.
Posted by cvirtue  on  Tue Apr 04, 2006  at  02:13 PM
Uhm... In the previous post about April Fool's jokes, that's listed as a hoax from... Ogrish? ( Or maybe they got it wrong, who knows...
Posted by MiauNeko  in  Peru  on  Tue Apr 04, 2006  at  03:53 PM
im sorry to say but honestly this looks like something that would come from the movie star wars. kinda reminds me of that thing, jar jar i think its called?

yes it seems wrong for me to make fun of the baby and im sorry, but we all have opinions.

at first i thought it was a hoax but then again, it could be real....
Posted by Eva  in  new york  on  Tue Apr 04, 2006  at  05:33 PM
the eyes look fake, but who knows. it could be real.
Posted by alex k  on  Tue Apr 04, 2006  at  05:44 PM
Sorry to say Doubting Thomases, It's probably real. I've *seen* anacelaphic babies. Yes, they *do* look like that. It's actually miraculous that one lived even a half hour after birth, as most don't have enough brain tissue.

Mind, that doesn't stop anyone from trying to make a buck off it, gain publicity by it, or public sympathy.

There's a website, not for the squeamish, called 'My Dead Baby'. I'm not going to link to it, since a lot of the folks who put their kids up there are some pretty sad cases. It's a little like 'Munchausen by Proxy' (a *really* frightening and tragic mental health condition. Look it up, and be *scared*) combined with the parents showing their 'beautiful' baby for others to 'admire' (hint: putting a hydrocelaphic baby in a christening gown does not make it cute).

Trust me folks, as much as you'd love to think that outside the scope of human deformity, I've got twelve bucks ( the price of a ticket to the Mutter Museum )that says otherwise.
Posted by Robin Bobcat  in  Californian Wierdo  on  Tue Apr 04, 2006  at  07:48 PM
OK, after following the links, I'd say real.

Why parade the baby through town? Who knows. Why do we, as Americans, do half of what we do? Why do many of us weep at wakes, while others laugh and tell happy stories? Cultural relativism; not to be judged.

This is what bothered me, though: (Quotation marks not mine)

(quote) The
Posted by karen  in  Reno  on  Tue Apr 04, 2006  at  08:15 PM
don't get me wrong. if it isn't a hoax, then i truly do feel for the parents. if it is a hoax, then i am just plain disgusted.
Posted by thephrog  in  CA USA  on  Tue Apr 04, 2006  at  11:14 PM
Different cultures have different views on things.

Recently I read of a tribe of people that sees conjoined twins as the incarnation of the twin gods of fire and passion, and they are worshipped.(something like that anyway)

There is also a shrine in Pakistan that honors "rat children" which are severely retarted and malformed children. The children are given to the shrine to be used as beggars in exchange for blessings of fertility.

Some cultures feel that the handicapped are somehow blessed by or closer to God... it could be why they are parading the poor baby around.

Who are we to judge?
Posted by Emidawg  on  Wed Apr 05, 2006  at  03:28 AM
Probably a hoax, the real thing is much more horrendous:
Posted by Craig  on  Wed Apr 05, 2006  at  06:07 AM
There could have been a warning that the baby would be dead. Saying it could be disturbing isn't quite the same. I knew he would look odd, but I didn't realize he'd be deceased.
Posted by Reynard Muldrake  on  Wed Apr 05, 2006  at  06:23 AM
Emidawg said:

"Recently I read of a tribe of people that sees conjoined twins as the incarnation of the twin gods of fire and passion, and they are worshipped."

If this is true, I'd like to know more about it. What's the name of this tribe, and where do they live? There are cultures (the Yoruba of Nigeria, for example) who consider the birth of twins to be an exceptionally fortunate occurance, but I've never heard of one having a similar view of conjoined twins.

Since conjoined twins are quite rare, this tribe must either be quite large or have an exceptionally high rate of abnormal births if they see this phenomenon very often. Also, their medical technology must be fairly advanced, since it is my understanding that conjoined twins who are born alive are almost always delivered by caesarian section.

The Yoruba's neighbors, the Igbo, on the other hand, traditionally viewed the birth of twins as a communal disaster and they were frequently left to die (Chinua Achebe describes this in "Things Fall Apart"). However, an Igbo of my acquaintance tells me that this practice, and probably the underlying belief, died out several generations ago.

In the book "The Island of Bali," which was published in about 1930 or so (but is still well worth reading), Miguel Covarrubias says that the Balinese people were horrified by the birth of boy-and-girl fraternal twins, as they considered such a relationship incestuous. Such an event required an elaborate ritual to purify the village, and the twins' father was permitted to collect donations from all the neighbors (who were all expected to contribute) to pay for the ceremony.

All this is pretty far off topic, I guess, but interesting, I hope.
Posted by Big Gary in Old Dime Box, Texas  in  Dallas, Texas, USA  on  Wed Apr 05, 2006  at  05:00 PM
I didn't want to follow the links...I can't handle that sort of thing...

I did read the article link...and by the picture on the article, the baby's skin is mottled, just like a newborns. That's not really something that could be faked easily. Not with a computer, not with looks like a real baby.

I'm going to go vomit now.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Wed Apr 05, 2006  at  09:51 PM
Of course I cant find the link now concerning the twin gods thing I posted earlier.. I found it when I was looking up info on Manar Maged, an Egyptian baby who was born with a partially formed twin attached to her head. She had died recently and I wanted to see how severe of a case it had been.

I have an interest in developmental biology, possibly morbid, but I find conjoined twins and other congenital defects scientifically interesting.

When i was fourteen I had an internship with a laboratory that was studying the development of chicken embryos... they would "knock out" certain genes, disabling them and see how it affected the developing chick. This helped them identify functions of genes and etc etc...

Really neat stuff when youre that young.. although I cant eat eggs anymore because of it..

Neural tube defects (Ancephaly, Spina Bifida) are often linked to a deficiency in folate in the mother's diet, just as an interesting tidbit of info. (and to stay somewhat on topic )
Posted by Emidawg  on  Thu Apr 06, 2006  at  01:41 AM
"The Guarani people of Paraguay consider conjoined twins to be the sacred incarnates of the twin gods Fire and Passion"

Okay, now I remember where I found it, so the veracity of this information is questionable...

However there is a real tribe of people called the Guarani... and they do live in paraguay... however I cannot find anything that substantiates this claim.

I have yet to have figured out if has any truth to the "Facts" posted.

I read so much on the net anymore that fact and fiction often become intertwined so I apologize if I was... um .. err.. gullible
Posted by Emidawg  on  Thu Apr 06, 2006  at  02:59 AM
I knew this wasn't a hoax without having to check out the links because when I was pregnant I made the fatal error of checking out some infant pathology website that had a slew of pictures of anecephelactic (right term?) infants.

I had nightmares my whole pregnancy. On the plus side, seeing those pictures ensured that I took my prenatal vitamins - and vitamins are something I'm woefully lax at remembering to take.
Posted by MadCarlotta  on  Thu Apr 06, 2006  at  10:26 AM
There could have been a baby, with that disese, that died. BUT - am I the only person who thinks that, proportions and defects aside, that baby in the tub was WAY too big to be a newborn? Even if it was closer to the camera than the men carrying it, it appeared to be the size of a 6 year old. No woman could have given birth to a "baby" that big.
Posted by chyca  on  Thu Apr 06, 2006  at  05:45 PM
chyca: That's what I thought at first, until I realized that the "tub" is actually some sort of bowl that he's holding up with a single hand. The infant is not as large as it appears at first.
Posted by karen  in  Reno  on  Thu Apr 06, 2006  at  06:39 PM
Karen is right: Look at the size of the hand holding the bowl. That baby (or whatever it is) is actually a much smaller than a normal newborn, which is consistant with the news report that it weighed 2 kg (4.4 pounds for us in the U.S.).
That still doesn't explain why that crowd is parading it around, though.
Posted by Big Gary in Muleshoe, Texas  in  Dallas, Texas, USA  on  Fri Apr 07, 2006  at  06:19 PM
Honestly if this was real, wouldn't this baby be kept in in the hospital or something. Not put it in a bath tub for everyone to see it. thats just wrong.
Posted by katie  on  Wed Apr 12, 2006  at  11:58 AM
poor kid...or watever it is
Posted by katie  on  Wed Apr 12, 2006  at  12:00 PM
yeah thats sad, you guys are all meanyheads
Posted by qtpi  in  blah  on  Wed Apr 12, 2006  at  12:00 PM
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