'Two-mouthed' trout caused by injury

February 8, 2006

Clarence Olberding of Lincoln, Neb., believed he had caught a new type of trout -- one with two mouths.

But a Harvard University researcher who examined the severed fish head said the unusual deformity was caused by an injury and not a genetic mutation, the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star reported Wednesday.

James Lee, a research fellow at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology, said a muscle in the trout's mouth was severed, causing thin membranes between the lower jaw bone and the floor of the mouth to split. He said that gave the fish the appearance of having two jaws.

Despite its odd condition, Lee said the fish appeared to be in good health and was able to live, feed and grow to adult size, the newspaper said, noting the fish came from a Nebraska fish hatchery.

Olberding caught the unusual trout in December.

"It's been a very interesting couple of months and I had a lot of fun with it," Olberding told the Journal Star.

What happened to the rest of the fish?

"We ate it over the holidays," Olberding said.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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