Twins Two Lives… One Personality What would it be like to have a twin? This is a question people often ponder. People often say that they see someone that resembles someone they already know. It is almost like. “Twin” comes from the German word “twine” meaning “two together” (Nagy 1).
Most people automatically think of two people who look just alike when they hear the word “twin.” However, there is a lot more to twins than just looking alike.
Twins are the most common type of multiple births. Many think there are only two types of twins, identical and fraternal; they often leave out conjoined twins. Twins are very unique and fascinating individuals because of their similarities biologically, physically, and psychologically. An author from the twin’s network stated that, “A British scientist was the first to say that identical twins are identical biologically and may have come from a single egg” (Nagy 1).
He was correct when he made this hypothesis.
Identical twins form when a single fertilized egg splits usually one to fourteen days after conception (Wade 53).
Identical twins are the same sex, they have the same chromosomes, and are the same blood type. Identical twins also mean monozygotic twins. According to the twin’s network, studies show that identical twins live longer than fraternal twins; they believe this is due to their close communication (Nagy 1).
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Fraternal twins are the most common type of twins. They are the result of the union of two eggs and two sperm. Fraternal twins can be the same or different sexes (Wade 53).
Segal says that, “They are two individuals, no more genetically alike than brothers and sisters that develop from separate fertilization’s” (Segal 1).
Amazingly, fraternal twins can be conceived at separate times and have different fathers. It seems to be a hereditable trait to conceive fraternal twins. Yet, tendency to conceive conjoined twins may be caused by genetic and environmental conditions (Hunter 1).
Conjoined twins are the rarest type of twins. Conjoined twins were once known as “Siamese twins.” Conjoined twins originate from a single fertilized egg so they are always identical and same sex twins. The developing embryo starts to split into identical twins within the first two weeks after conception but stops before completion.
A partially separated egg is left of the embryo, and it continues to mature into a conjoined fetus (Hunter 1).
Conjoined twins can be joined at the hip, chest, abdomen, buttocks, head, or internal organs (Scheinfeld 37).
The overall survival rate for these twins is somewhere between five and twenty-five percent (Sanders 2).
This means that the majority of conjoined twins die within twenty-four hours of birth.
For the few who survive the traumatic beginning, surgical separation is often possible for conjoined twins. The average survival rate after surgery is around forty-six percent (Sanders 2).
This percent depends greatly on the location of the attachment and the organs that are shared. There is some controversy over the separation of conjoined twins. In some cases separation has turned into a moral issue. A prime example of how dependent one twin is on the other is in the case of the British conjoined twins, Jodie and Mary.
Jodie was stronger and more capable than her sister. Mary was weak and was only alive because she was attached to Jodie. However, Mary’s weakness would eventually make Jodie weak as well. The parents were burdened with a moral dilemma, which would result with the loss of at least one child (Sanders 4).
If Mary and Jodie were separated, one would likely die.
Some separations are more difficult to complete than others. Parents of conjoined twins have to think about all of the factors before they proceed with a separation. There are also factors to think about after separation. If both twins survive the separation, they may still need an enormous amount of medical treatment throughout their life. In addition to medical treatment, they will probably need vast amounts of plastic surgery to improve their physical appearance (Sanders 4, 5).
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Parents might find it difficult to put their children through this stress again and again.
Twins have many similarities. Identical and conjoined twins resemble each other greatly. We already know that identical and conjoined twins are always the same sex and blood type. They also share the same characteristics, such as hair and eye color, same nose, ear, and lip shape, as well as their physical build (Hunter 1).
A lot of the same characteristics that may possibly distinguish one human being from another are the same in identical and conjoined twins. Fraternal twin characteristics may be very different from the characteristics of identical and conjoined twins.
They may not have any of the same physical appearances that other twins do. One may be short and the other tall, one male, and the other female, and the list could go on. What is more astonishing is that one twin may be black and the other could be white. Though it is a rare condition, fraternal twins are the only type of twins that can have different fathers (Wright 96-98).
Although fraternal twin’s appearances may be different from one another, this does not mean that all fraternal twins are exempt from looking alike. Twins also have many differences.
It would most likely be assumed that twins are just alike and that they do not have many differences. Twins may look alike, but they do have their own thoughts, feelings, dreams, and lives. Parents of twins often treat them as if they were one person, but they are individuals (Scheinfeld 98, 103).
They live separate lives, have separate friends, and make their own decisions. According to Begley, identical twins are not always identical in behavior just because of genes. Some studies show that when twins are given different circumstances, for example, different educational opportunities, different results are obtained.
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One example in Newsweek showed one twin may grow to be a professional pianist while the other twin was not at all musical even though the twins were both raised in a musical environment (“Heredity” 69).
Twins have different interest from each other, and express them in individual ways. About twenty-five percent of identical twins show features of mirror imaging, a reversal of patterns in twins that are most commonly detected when twins have opposite handedness (Wright 119).
Every set of mirror twins are not opposite handed.
Opposite handedness is one of the major forms of mirror imaging along with opposite hair whirls and opposite birthmarks. In its mildest form, it can be a matter of which side of the mouth the first tooth appears on. In a more dramatic form of mirror imaging it can be when organs are actually found on the wrong side of their bodies. Mirror imaging is found more frequently in conjoined twins, this has led most researchers to conclude that mirror imaging is a characteristic of late separation (Scheinfeld 56).
It has been proven over and over by many professors, doctors, and researchers that identical twins share a special bond. It is a relationship that few people, unless they are twins themselves will ever understand.
Segal says, “It’s almost as if you have a built-in best friend.” Most twins feel they are not only siblings, but also best friends (n. p. ).
According to Parallels a Look at Twins it states that a set of twins could not see themselves growing old until they took a look at their twin, and then they realized their twin was graying and that they must be graying too. Another set of twins stated that as adults they are still emotionally very close, and to see their twin hurting and unhappy disturbs them very much (Stein 120, 132).
Other siblings or individuals may not have this type of bond because twins have been together since conception and usually stay close through their adult years (Scheinfeld 221).
Female identical twins are more apt to remain very close through the years than any other set of twins. According to Chensanow, twins may have the same thoughts at the very same time. Twins may also get sick, married, and even pregnant at the same time (68).
The author of Twins and Super-twins writes, “In the case of identical twins, a special closeness and perhaps intuitive understanding of each other could be traceable to their matching hereditary make-up, and the many similarities in traits and experiences arising from it.” While fraternal twins may not develop the closeness that identical and conjoined twins do, they do develop that “special bond” that all twins are known for (Scheinfeld 101, 230).
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Having such a close bond with each other could also be harmful if one twins die, leaving the other emotionally handicap. Many people once they have lost their twin feel they have lost a part of themselves. They feel incomplete because their twin was the only one they felt who understood them (Scheinfeld 228, 230).
If one twin passes away, the other is left as a “twin less twin.” Many twins can picture themselves surviving the death of their husbands, wives, or children, but they are frequently unable to imagine living without their twin (Stein 32).
Twins are companions for life, so a death of one can be more than devastating.
Segal has discovered that if one twin dies, the other twin feels this loss more acutely than non-twin siblings do (Segal 2).
For a twin, this companion is with them from birth and shares everything about them. Dual twin deaths are astounding cases. One case, in 1942, was of twin brothers in Cambridge, Minnesota, who dropped dead within five minutes of each other, and the shock of the one’s death proved fatal to the other twin, who was visiting (Scheinfeld 228).
Some twins have found that it seems to be very helpful to talk to other twins who have lost their twin. One twin stated that they would have rather been separated at birth than grow up together and go through losing their twin to death (Stein 116).
Twins that were separated at birth are of special interest for researchers today. Despite different home lives, Segal was impressed by similarities associated by twins who were separated at birth (Segal 1).
Many of the separated twins had a lot of similarities and the same preferences. They also felt an immediate bond upon meeting.
Jim Springer and Jim Lewis are twins who were separated four weeks after they were born in 1939, and they were reunited thirty-nine years later. The twins discovered that they had married and divorced women named Linda, married second wives named Betty, and named their first sons James Allan and James Alan, respectively. They both drove the same model of blue Chevrolet, and they both enjoyed the same hobby. They often vacationed on the same small beach in St.
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Petersburg, Florida, and owned dogs named Toy (Heredity 62).
There have been many cases reported similar to this one, such as where twins were separated at birth and when reunited, found that they had astounding similarities between the two. By studying twins who were reared apart, scientists are learning how the forces of nature and nurture interact to make us what we are (Chensanow 69).
Many environmental, genetic, and emotional factors are related to the composition of twins. Any types of twin share a relationship that most people will never experience. Twins, whether fraternal, identical, or conjoined, are an amazing phenomena of human life..