The Sunday Post (Dundee)
Worldwide, there are at least 125 million living multiples.
The world’s oldest ever twins were Eli Shadrack and John Meshak Phipps, born on February 14, 1803, in Virginia. They died at the ages of 108 and 113 respectively.
William Shakespeare had twin children – a boy and a girl, Hamnet and Judith.
Non-identical twins may come from different spermatozoon, depending on which egg is fertilised and how. Therefore the size, gender and skin colour can vary depending on the different characteristics.
Identical twins can, rarely, be of different sex or skin colour if some genes get “lost” in some cells after uneven splitting of the egg.
Not all twins have the same date of birth. Some can, of course, be born a few hours either side of midnight. The longest recorded gap was to Rita Castro who delivered a son on December 9, 1966. She delivered the second twin, a daughter, on January 8, 1967!
When a fertilised egg splits later than usual, identical twins’ appearance and other traits can mirror each other. For example, one twin may have a birthmark on their left arm, while the other has a birthmark on their right. In extreme cases, one mirrorimage twin’s organs may be reversed, with the heart on the right and liver on the left.
Up to 22% of twins are left-handed. In the non-twin