T he world is buzzing about multiples in a major way now that superstars Jay Z and Beyoncé dropped a double dose of Carter. We’re reminded that questions around twins are endless — and so are the conspiracy theories. Will Blue Ivy‘s younger siblings be identical in every way? What are the risks around double births? Did Bey subtly reveal the sex of her little ones with this telling photo, where she rocks the same earrings featured in her video for “If I Were A Boy“?
In true ‘Yonce fashion, the singer hasn’t publicly shared many details of her pregnancy. Therefore, in an effort to be prepared for whatever is in store for our royal couple, we decided to go on a twin fact-finding mission. Could Hov’s babies have the mythical power of twin telepathy? Will they be identical or fraternal? CASSIUS answers those questions and many more, check out the mysteries we’ve unraveled about twin life:
1. Identical twins do not have identical fingerprints. A human being’s fingerprint is influenced by random stresses experienced in the womb. Touching amniotic fluid during weeks six to thirteen has a significant impact on the patterns of a fetus’ fingerprint and because this experience is unique for each twin, so are their prints.
2. Twins can use their DNA to get out of trouble. Speaking of fingerprints, there’s a long history of identical twins getting away with all sorts of “questionable activities”. Here’s a suppressed example: Back in 2009, for example, a set of 27-year-old twin brothers went free in Berlin, although DNA evidence showed at least one of the men was present when $6.8 million worth of jewelry went missing from a luxury department store. As it turns out, a sweaty glove was left at the crime scene, and when authorities ran the DNA (gathered from sweat beads) through their crime database they got two hits, which led them to twins Hassan and Abbas O. Germany law states that each suspected criminal must be individually proven guilty and with DNA from one glove being the only available evidence, it was impossible to prove which twin was present. A fingerprint might’ve come in handy here.
3. Twins can, in fact, have two different biological dads. Also in 2009, a young woman by the name of Mia gave birth to twins fathered by two separate dads. In a rare occurrence, she’d released two eggs that month and had sex with two different men within a five-day time span. Sperm can remain “alive and viable for up to five days in the reproductive tract,” Dr. Hilda Hutcherson, Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University explained on Today. So, it just so happens each partner fertilized one of two eggs released by her ovaries and the rest was history.
4. Some twins develop their own autonomous language only they understand. Before learning recognized languages, a whopping 40 percent of twins communicate with each other by way of inverted words and onomatopoeic expressions. Although the “languages” they create often disappear once they learn the tongue of their parents, the phenomenon, also known as crytophasia and/or idioglossia, is very real.
5. Mirror image identical twins have reverse asymmetric features. When monozygotic twins, formed from a single fertilized egg, split a little later than usual the twins develop what are called reverse asymmetric features. One twin might be right-handed while the other is left-handed, or they could have birthmarks on opposite sides of their bodies. In theory, it’s possible that they could be exact mirror reflections of each other if they faced one another while in the womb.
6. Twins are start bonding with each other before birth. In a 2011 3D video study of five pairs of twins still in the womb, scientists learned that they reach for each other as early as week fourteen. The study found that by week 18, “they touched each other more often than they touched their own bodies, spending up to 30 percent of their time reaching out and stroking their co-twin.” Another interesting reveal: The twins “also took as much care when touching their twin’s delicate eye region as they did with their own.”
7. Mothers expecting twins are more likely to give birth prematurely. At least 50 percent of twins are born early, with the average length of pregnancy for twins being 36.4 weeks. “The risk of preterm labor and premature birth are heightened when there is more than one baby in the womb. Other conditions such as preeclampsia, placental dysfunction, and TTTS are more prevalent in twin pregnancy and increase the risk of an early delivery,” Pamela Prindle Fierro reports in her March 2017 article Are Twins Usually Born Earlier Than Singletons. Depending on how early your multiples are born, they risk being undersized and underdeveloped.
8. A mother’s body behaves uniquely when nurturing and developing twins. A mother’s chest temperature will change to regulate the body temperature of a baby she’s holding up to her breasts. In a 2007 case study, it was found that when a mother holds twins, each breast will adjust individually adjust its own temperature to account for the independent need of each twin. “The data suggests that twins can be simultaneously held in [Shared Kangaroo Care] without physiologic compromise,” the study reports.
9. Twins may live longer than single-born people. A recent study shows twins are more likely to provide each other emotional support in stressful times. Their close relationship likely acts as a buffer from risky behaviors because they each have someone looking out for their best interests, and the care they show each other is likely to promote healthy decisions. Basically, they’ve got each other’s backs.
10. There is no scientific evidence to support the theory of twin telepathy, though many twins claim to feel each other’s pain. While many twins claim they share some sort of psychic connection, the evidence is anecdotal at best. LiveScience explains the 2009 case of a British teen, Gemma, who suddenly felt that her fraternal twin Leanne needed help. When Gemma went to check on her sister, she found Leanne had suffered a seizure, slipped under water, and nearly drowned. But as the site explains, “…as fortunate as it is, may not be as inexplicable as it first appears. Leanne had suffered similar fits in the past, and the rest of her family (including her sister) had been warned to keep a watchful eye on her. No “twin telepathy” is needed to explain this event— it’s likely that any other (non-twin) member of the family who was home at the time would have reacted the same way.