Many of the 4,000 residents and farmers of Lady Frere in Eastern Province, South Africa, were convinced that bestiality and witchcraft had led to the birth of the creature.
The panic got so great that the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development sent out experts to carry out tests after pictures of it spread like wildfire through the community.
Chief Director of Veterinary Services Dr Lubabalo Mrwebi admitted that at first glance the lamb which was born dead did resemble a human being but was not part human.
Dr Mrwebi said: ‘We can confirm this not a hoax photo but that the severely deformed lamb was born by a sheep in Lady Frere this week which at a glance resembles a human form.
‘It is not however human but a deformed stillborn lamb sired by a sheep and was subsequently infected by a Rift Valley Fever at an early stage of its pregnancy.
‘It is worth noting that a sheep has 28 pairs of chromosomes while humans have 23 pairs which is important in dispelling the myth that a union of a sheep ovum and a human sperm can lead to a development of a viable life form.
‘The deformed lamb exhibits signs that are consistent with an early foetal development that went wrong as a result of a viral infection and nothing more’ he said.
Dr Mrwebi said that the gestation period for a sheep is five months, and that meant that the particular sheep was conceived in late December 2016 or early January 2017.
The department’s veterinary officials is conducting a post-mortem and its results will be communicated to the public who are fearful in the remote area that witchcraft is at play.
A villager was quoted as saying: ‘The elders when they saw it said it was sent by the devil and was born after a coupling between a man and a sheep and then there was panic.
‘Many people are afraid and will not be happy until it is burned’ he said.