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As a series of anatomically correct myths, here we have the Nuckelavee. Is there a realistic way that Nuckelavee could evolve? Using Earth or near-Earth biology, how close could I get to the classic Nuckelavee? Is there a reason that a Nuckelavee couldn't evolve? To me the two heads and split spine is the major problem. You could imply that the horse head is just a glorified trunk. It's up to you.

A list of all of the Anatomically Correct questions can be found here

Anatomically Correct Series

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    $\begingroup$ I think you meant to link to nuckelavee, rather than griffin. Also, the nuckelavee is human-horse demon, not a griffin, so I'm confused by your question. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Sep 12 '15 at 21:06
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    $\begingroup$ There are incidences where it happens. Consider conjoined twins. If it was advantageous to have two heads, for some reason, a conjoined twin may carry genes which encourage such a mutation to occur and proliferate them. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon - Reinstate Monica Sep 15 '15 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ The only way I could imagine this happening is with some species with multiple ganglia. Ganglia are never known to develop into fully functioning brains, but it's fine if one is dominant. At least with separate nerve bundles I could imagine multiple heads forming... As for the whole "skinless" thing, perhaps it originated as a deep sea amphibian... $\endgroup$ – Gorchestopher H Dec 29 '15 at 22:12
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To justify multiple mouths, one could be for breathing/communication while the other could be for eating, Horsehead could browse on seaweed/clams/starfish in the shallows while the other head stayed well above the water.

Multiple pairs of eyes could also be beneficial, with the horse pair used underwater and the others to keep aware of things above the waves.

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As a matter of fact, there is a record of human Siamese twin sharing a body and having 2 spines and heads. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abigail_and_Brittany_Hensel

As for the mix with a horse, I think you'll have to consider something like "there is no limitation for species to have cross-species children" because frankly I don't think you can avoid supernatural physics for this Nuckelavee.

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Stethacanthus, that prehistoric shark with that weird thing on it's head which we don't know the real function of, is almost like an evolutionary starting point for something like the nuckelavee. enter image description here

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