This is interesting:
Doctors began operating today on a 2-year-old girl born with four arms and four legs in an extensive surgery that they hope will leave the girl with a normal body, a hospital official said.
Lakshmi is joined to a "parasitic twin" who stopped developing in the mother's womb. The surviving fetus absorbed the limbs, kidneys and other body parts of the undeveloped fetus.
It is believed that in utero, this girl had a twin whom she absorbed, reportedly after that twin's "death." (I'm not so sure about the death part... that sounds like an assumption.)
Various parts of this twin's body, including kidneys, limbs, and the spine, were absorbed by the girl who was eventually born.
The girl's name is Lakshmi ...
...after the four-armed Hindu goddess of wealth, and some in her village in the northern state of Bihar revere her.
"Everybody considers her a goddess at our village," said her father, Shambhu, who goes by one name. "All this expenditure has happened to make her normal. So far, everything is fine."
Her parents kept her in hiding after a circus apparently tried to buy the girl, they said.
Lakshmi is said to have about an 80% chance of survival.
Go here (Pharyngula) to see this discussed by an actual developmental biologist.
How are they going to cut the spinal cord between the little girl and the parasitic twin? From the xray I saw yesterday it looks like one long spinal cord from the girl's brain through the pelvis of the parasitic twin. If you cut a spinal cord, does it shrink/retract? Or is the end somehow anchored to one of her lower vertebra?