In some ancient African tribes’ times, twins were seen as a single soul with two bodies. If the one dies, the other one will not survive. Although, we know now that the former is not true – there is still something so fascinating about twins and other multiple birth children.
If you wanted to learn some interesting scientific facts about twins, read below.
1. Being pregnant with two foetuses aren’t necessarily twins
There is an extremely rare condition referred to as ‘superfetation’ where a pregnant woman continues to ovulate and develops another embryo which is later fertilised.
However, this second foetus is usually premature while the first reach their due date.
2. Twins can have different fathers
Although it’s rare, twins can have different fathers! Heteropaternal superfecundation happens when a woman has sex with more than one man during ovulation. If two different male’s sperm fertilize two different eggs – it results in twins. However, this is more common in animals than it is in humans.
3. Twins speak their own language
It’s not just babbling! A study conducted by the Institute of General Linguistics found that twin babies often learn and use each other’s vocabulary. The research estimates that up to 40 percent of twins create a private language.
4. An unbreakable bond
Yes, it’s true that twins can bond as early as foetuses that’s why they’re likely to be close.
The University of Padova found that foetuses as young as 14 weeks old started showing physical affection to each other. The researchers found that the twins appeared to be reaching out, touching head to head and arm to head. At 18 weeks old, they appear to be stroking each other more regularly and are in physical contact at least 30% of the time.
What’s more, is that the foetuses seem to be especially gentle around their sibling’s eyes. This is likely because these areas are so delicate.
5. There is a ‘twin gene’
Women may inherent a certain gene that allows them to ‘hyper-ovulate’ meaning that she develops multiple eggs. Hence, she is more likely to conceive fraternal twins! However, they are not identical and are produced by two separate eggs.
Ever wondered why twins are likely to have other members of their family that are twins? This is why!
Yes, we know it seems like it ‘skips a generation’. According to The New York Times, it’s because only women can be affected by hyper-ovulation, so if she gave birth twin boys, they cannot have the gene as they don’t ovulate. However, they can pass on the gene to their daughters who could. Hence, ‘skipping’ a generation.
6. Twins can be different races
Although it’s rare, it’s definitely possible! Remember when we said that twins can have different dads? Well, if the dads are from two different races and each of them implants the egg with sperm, the children could be twins from different races! This is also known as hetero-paternal superfecundation.
7. Twins can be years apart
According to the Telegraph, there are a set of twins born 5 years apart!
The twin’s parents were having trouble conceiving naturally so they tried IVF (in vitro fertilisation is a process in which a woman’s eggs are fertilised outside of her body and then implanted in her uterus after). From that sample, only two embryos were implanted – the couple then decided to freeze the other three embryos. Years after their first child was born, the couple decided to implant the other embryo thus resulting in the birth of the twin.
However, it does depend on how you view the term ‘twins’ as this technically refers to two infants born at the same time. However, the Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine says that they can be considered to be twins as they came from the same batch of embryos and collected from the same treatment cycle. Hence, twins born at different times!
8. How to tell twins apart
Often, twins are quite identical to each other. The best way to tell twin babies apart is actually their bellies! Belly buttons have little to do with genetics as they are basically just scarring from the umbilical cord cut.
Another way of telling them apart is by taking their fingerprints – but, we’re sure you’ll agree that it takes too long! They have different fingerprints because although they share DNA, exposure to different areas of the womb can actually alter their fingerprints and cause ridges and whorls.