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Can animals have twins?  Explains science

Can animals have twins? Explains science

Can dogs be twins? – Image: Reproduction/Internet

Giving birth to twins can be a difficult experience for human parents, with double joys but also increased expenses and potential headaches. However, this reality is common in the animal kingdom, where multiple reproduction is an integral part of the lives of many species.

In contrast to the rarity of human twins, in nature, many creatures bring multiple offspring into the world simultaneously. For example, a pig litter can consist of up to 11 or more piglets. But can all animal siblings born at the same time be considered twins?

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To answer this question, it is necessary to understand the meaning of this term. Twins, in general, are defined as two babies who share the same gestation period. There are two main categories: identical twins, which result from the division of a single egg that is fertilized by a single sperm, resulting in the birth of two genetically identical children; and fraternal twins, which occur when two individually different eggs are fertilized at the same time, resulting in siblings who share only the same birth time but are not genetically identical.

In the animal world, each species has its own typical number of offspring per pregnancy. Even between dog breeds, the number of puppies can vary, with smaller breeds generally having about three puppies per litter, while larger breeds have more than seven puppies.

Once we understand the concept of twins, we can say that many animals actually give birth to twins. However, determining whether these children are identical or fraternal twins is a more complex issue and depends on the species in question.

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Can dogs have twins?

For example, dogs and cats have the ability to ovulate several eggs at the same time. Fertilization of individual eggs by different sperm from one male can result in the production of multiple embryos. Therefore, it is more common for our pets to produce non-identical or fraternal twins, even though some puppies may look very similar.

In fact, biologists believe that identical twins are exceptions in many animal species. The resemblance between siblings often requires DNA testing to confirm whether or not they share all the genes.

The nine-banded armadillo, on the other hand, is a notable exception to this rule. These animals often give birth to identical quadruplets, due to the pattern of dividing the female’s fertilized eggs into four identical cells. Although we still don’t know a lot about this phenomenon, we can at least say with confidence that humans are not alone in the world of twins.

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