What is su­per­fe­ta­tion?

Science Illustrated - - ASK US -

Su­per­fe­ta­tion in­volves the si­mul­ta­ne­ous oc­cur­rence of more than one stage of de­vel­op­ing off­spring in the same an­i­mal. In other words two preg­nan­cies at the same time, but where the ba­bies are dif­fer­ent ages.

Some an­i­mals such as rab­bits and hares have two wombs or bi­par­tite wombs, al­low­ing them to ex­pect two dif­fer­ent lit­ters at the same time. Su­per­fe­ta­tion is also known from ro­dents, horses, sheep, cats, and some mar­su­pi­als. The ex­is­tence of su­per­fe­ta­tion dif­fers from breed to breed and from species to species, but it is not the nor­mal state of any mam­mal.

A rab­bit womb might in­clude two dif­fer­ent lit­ters at the same time.

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