Identical twin formation in humans seem to fascinate the masses. To our brains, which are programmed to see everyone differently, seeing two people who look almost exactly the same is just so out of the ordinary. It’s like a ‘mind blown’ moment.
It happens when two sperm enter the egg at the same time during fertilization. At that point, the egg will separate into two and each of those will develop independently with the same genetic information. Hence, we get what are referred to as identical twins.
There have been some anecdotal claims from pet owners in the past who’ve claimed so have seen this phenomenon in their puppies, but a recent case has been genetically tested for validity, and it makes this the first ‘confirmed’ case of identical twins in puppies.
Image Credit: Kurt de Cramer
The results of the genetic testing have been published in the journal Reproduction in Domestic Animals.
The dogs were delivered by veterinarian Kurt de Cramer from South Africa’s Rant en Dale Animal Hospital. It’s reported that he needed to perform the delivery via Caesarian section, which is a risky surgical procedure to deliver babies through an incision in the abdomen rather than the natural way through the vaginal passageway.
While he was in there, he noticed that both of the pups were attached to the same placenta with their umbilical cords. Cramer reportedly never saw anything like it during his decades of practice, and it raised some eyebrows.
After delivery, they looked very similar to one another, so blood tests were conducted to see whether or not they were identical twins. Shockingly, the results came back positive.
Identical twins, despite how the name suggests, aren’t actually perfectly identical. They have some differences because although they are created with the same genes, those genes can be expressed differently during growth and development. One of the differences we see in humans are different fingerprints between the two individuals; but for the puppies, there are some slight differences in fur patterns.
For whatever reason, identical twin cases are much more common in humans, but are rarer in other species in comparison. Although that sounds like a questionable statement because there aren’t many identical twins walking the streets, it actually really is a shockingly smaller number when you compare the amount of identical twins of animals to those of humans.
Both puppies are currently healthy and now Cramer can say had the opportunity to see something unique in his lifetime as a veterinarian that has been officially confirmed by science.
Source: BBC vis National Grographic