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Meet Quimera the cat—she’s no ordinary feline! You’ve probably never seen any animal quite like her. Her furry face is split down the middle between two totally different colors and she has two different-colored eyes as well.
Woah! So what’s behind Quimera’s two-faced look? She may be a chimera, a quirk of genetics that is exceedingly rare. As Columbia University Professor of Genetics and Development Virginia Papaioannou told the :
“A chimera … is a composite individual that was made up of cells from at least two different original embryos. If they fuse together early enough, they will become a single organism whose genetic input is from two completely different individuals. … A chimera would be a much more unusual and unlikely event.”
Believe it or not, Quimera is not the only cat with this unique look. Check out Venus, another famous feline that looks like she’s actually two cats fused together:
Because true chimeras are so uncommon, Papaioannou believes that Venus probably doesn’t fit the bill. Instead, she is most likely just a peculiar-looking calico. The professor’s explanation for Venus’ unusual appearance has to do with expression of different genes in females.
As for her different-colored eyes? Science has an answer for that, too. “It must be the white spotting gene that’s affecting her eyes, because the blue eye has a lack of melanin,” Pappaioannou told The New Republic. “This cat has white spots on the chest … the white spotting gene, the piebald gene, is probably affecting the two eyes differently. One has a sort of normal color and one is blue, which is basically a lack of pigment.”
It’s unclear whether Quimera is a rare, true chimera, but she has gotten pretty famous for her mismatched face. The feline has 54,000 followers on Instagram, where she can be seen behaving like a lot of other cats.