Worldwide there are at least 125 million living multiples.

Did you know that up to 22 percent of twins are left-handed? In the non-twin population the number is just under 10 percent.

The United States has one of the highest rates of multiples, while Japan has one of the lowest with multiple births occurring one in 120 births.

Twins are either fraternal or identical. Fraternal twins share the same womb, but come from different ovum. They are as alike as any pair of siblings sharing 50% of thier DNA.  Identical twins come from the same fertilized ovum and consequently share the same genetic makeup 100%.

The scientific study of twins is known as "gemellology." The word twin is probably derived from an ancient German word twine, which means 'two together.'

Fraternal twins are much more common than identical twins. The chances of having identical twins is about one in 285.

Identical twins exhibit almost identical brain wave patterns.

Genetic factors do not have much, if any, affect on the incidence of identical twins. Identical twins do not run in families.

While identical twins have no familial connection, it is true that fraternal twins can run in the family. Female fraternal twins score an impressive one in 17 chance of giving birth to their own set of fraternal twins, probably because many carry a gene for hyperovulation, which means they release more than one egg during ovulation. And, if a woman has already given birth to fraternal twins, the chance of another set increases fourfold.

Did you know that the number of twin births have more than doubled since the early 1970s? Today, about one of every 35 births in the United States are twins. Even more significant is the number of triplet and higher multiple births which have increased 200 percent over the last three decades.

Why the huge jump in the number of multiple births?

The most obvious reason for the growing birth rates of twins and multiples is the use of fertility drugs and treatments. These medical interventions are most often the reason for births of four or more multiples. Recent studies from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) show that approximately 43 percent of live births resulting from assisted reproductive techniques were multiples.

But fertility drugs don't tell the whole story.

Where you live could make a difference. If you reside in Massachusetts or Connecticut, a study by the National Center for Health Statistics found that the rates for twin deliveries was as much as 25 percent higher than the overall national rate. If you want to give birth to triplets, move to Nebraska or New Jersey. Both states boast a percentage of triplets that is twice the national average. On the other hand, if you reside in tropical Hawaii your chances of having a multiple will decrease to about 30 percent below the overall U.S. rate.

The time of year and the number of daylight hours also has an impact on multiple births. More fraternal twins are conceived in July than in any other month, while January has the fewest twin conceptions.

Scientists speculate that this is probably due to the longer length of daylight in July, which allows for a higher secretion of the Follicle Stimulating Hormone in women.

Enhanced medical care and good nutrition may play a role in skyrocketing multiple birth rates, although experts caution that it is difficult to directly link these influences. In fact, if access to state-of-the-art medicine were a deciding factor, then why does the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria have the highest twinning incidence in the entire world?

The Nigerian people attribute it to their population's consumption of a specific type of yam. Yams? That's right, scientists have discovered that these colorful vegetables contain a high level of a substance that is similar to the hormone estrogen, which could bring on multiple ovulation.

Surprisingly, age can work in a woman's favor when it comes to conceiving twins. Older mothers traditionally have a higher chance of delivering fraternal twins, with the odds increasing to one in 27 when the mother is 35 years or older.

While identical twins have no familial connection, it is true that fraternal twins can run in the family. Female fraternal twins score an impressive one in 17 chance of giving birth to their own set of fraternal twins, probably because many carry a gene for hyperovulation, which means they release more than one egg during ovulation. And, if a woman has already given birth to fraternal twins, the chance of another set increases fourfold.




The Biology of Twins

Identical twins (monozygotic) result when a single fertilized egg splits after conception. The resulting twins are the same sex and genetically alike, with similar foot and hand prints, but different fingerprints and teeth marks. The egg then splits into two genetically identical halves. They share 100% of their genes. Fraternal twins  (dizygotic) result when two eggs are released by the mother at the same time and each egg is fertilized by a different sperm. Fraternal twins can be of the same or opposite sex. They share up to 50% of their genes, and are no more alike or different than any two siblings would be, but there bond is just as special.

945 A.D.

The first recorded pair of conjoined twins is born in Armenia. The twin boys are connected from the waist to the abdomen. One of the boys dies during a surgical attempt to separate them. The surviving twin dies three days later.

Mary and Eliza Chulkhurst are considered one of the more famous early documented pairs of conjoined twins. The sisters become known as the Biddenden Maids of Biddenden Kent, England. Illustrations depict the twins joined at the hip and shoulders, but reports suggest they are pygopagus twins -- joined at the posterior of the buttocks. The sisters live for 34 years. After the death of one sister, the other dies hours later, declaring, "As we came together, we will also go together."

German physician G. Konig performs the first recorded successful operation to separate a pair of conjoined twins.

One of the best-known cases of conjoined twins is that of Eng and Chang Bunker, who are born in Siam (now Thailand) -- hence the phrase "Siamese twins." They are joined at the waist by a tubular band of tissue about 3.25 inches long and about 1.5 inches in diameter. Most of their youth is spent working to support their mother. Their work as "The Siamese Double Boys" helps them accumulate a small fortune. The Bunker boys marry two sisters, Sallie and Adelaide Yates, and father 21 children between them. In 1874, Chang awakes to find Eng dead. Several hours later, Chang dies.

Millie and Christine McCoy are conjoined twins born into slavery in North Carolina. The two are separated from their family and sold several times. Their last owner reunites them with their family. Advertised as the "Two-Headed Nightingale" or "Two-Headed Lady," the twins are said to be fluent in five languages and perform all over the world as pianists, singers and dancers. In 1912, on their 61st birthday, Millie dies of tuberculosis. Christine dies the next day.

Los Angeles is the birthplace of conjoined twins Yvonne and Yvette MacArthur, who are fused at the head. They have separate brains but share a circulatory system. Financial problems from numerous medical bills drive the sisters' mother to put the girls into the circus for a few years.

The MacArthur sisters grow up to become successful gospel singers. At age 38, the two enroll in college to study nursing. Five years later, in 1993, the MacArthurs die, a few months shy of their graduation.

For more fabulous information: Facts about Multiples

Twins and Multiples Statistics

The number of births in twin deliveries rose 6 percent for 1997-98 to 110,670 births- the largest single year rise in several decades. The number of Triplet Births climbed to 6919, a rise of 13 percent. Births in quadruplet deliveries increased from 510 to 627 between 1997 and 1998: the number of quintuplet and other higher order multiples was unchanged at 79. Since 1980 twin births have risen 62 perecent and other higher order muliptles births have jumped 470 percent. The Twin birth rate has risen 5 percent for the current year and the Triplet birth rate has risen 11 percent. Both Twin and Triplet birth rates have risen steadily since 1980, by 49 and 423 percent respectively, but the pace of the increase has quickened in the 1990's. There are now over 500,000 multiples 5 and under in the U.S..

Two related trends have been associated with the rise in multiple births, especially with the rise of higher order multiples; older age at childbearing (women in their thirties are more likely than younger women to have a multiple birth, even without the use of fertility therapy), and the more widespread use of fertility-enhancing therapies (fertility drugs and techniques such as in vitro fertilization). These therapies have been associated with the remarkable upswing in multiple births of the 1980's and 1990's. A recent study estimates that about 80 percent of triplet births in 1996 and 1997 were the result of fertility techniques.

***All Information is directly from National Vital Statistics Reports - Volume 48, Number 3 - from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention****



A peasant named Kirilow was presented to the empress of Russia in 1853 for the following reason. He had been married twice. His first wife bore fifty seven children, including four sets of quadruplets, seven sets of triplets, and two sets of twins. His second wife gave birth to fifteen children-six sets of twins and one set of triplets. At the time of his presentation to the empress, all seventy two of Kirilow's children were still alive.

Lots of Twins (Over 4 sets)
Mrs. Mary Jonas (d. 1899) had 15 sets of boy/girl twins.

A woman from Italy had 11 sets of fraternal twins in 11 years the last being in 1947 - not all of them survived.

Marcella Mills-Bigcrow of Pine Ridge, South Dakota had 8 sets of twins, along with 8 single births. All the babies survived, and were born between the 1940's and 1960's.

The Tremblay's of Quebec, Canada had 6 sets of twins in 8 years. Raymonde (her twin died at birth), Ronald & Ronaldo, Jacques & Jacqueline, Jules & Julien, Francine & Francois, Christien & Christiane.

Mrs. Barbara Zulu of South Africa had 6 sets of twins in 7 years (1967-73, 3 sets of girls, 3 mixed)

The Lecus family had 6 sets of twins and 19 children in total: Edna and Edward on April 3 1886, Charles and Martha April 27 1887, Elizabeth and Irene July 15 1888, Louise and Esther on August 8 1892, Agnes and David on January 3 1899 (Agnes died at age 7), and Emma and Viola in 1902. All were born in the Illinois/Michigan/Wisconsin area. Another daughter, Evangeline, had quadruplets that died at birth.

Six sets of twins were born to Mrs. Harry Fifield of Connecticut.

The Bockus family of Montreal had five sets, the last being born April 4 1845, a boy/girl set.

Above Info came from:

Nigeria holds the World Record in Multiple Births.

More fun info about Nigeria…………..

Most of the multiple births, comes from the women of the Yoruba Ethnic group in the Western part of the Country who have the highest number of multiple births in the world.

Nigeria has more of Identical twins than Fraternal twins

The tribe of birth determines the names of twins in Nigeria. Among the Hausas Northern tribe of Nigeria, the first is called Hassan, while the second is called Hussien. In the Yoruba
tribe of Western Nigeria, they are called Taiwo and Kehinde. While in Mid-western of  Nigeria (Edo State) It is Odion and Akhere.

There is a general belief that Yam in our diet contributes to twinning and multiple birth.

The World's Oldest Twins Who Ever Lived
The oldest twins ever documented are Eli Shadrack and John Meshak Phipps (USA) born on February 14, 1803 in Affington, Virginia. Eli died on February 23, 1911 at the age of 108 years; his brother John died on December 10, 1916 at the age of 113. The chance of identical twins both reaching and surpassing the age of 100 is about 1:700,000,000 (one in 700 million).
[ Editor's Note: Recent evidence has come to light subsequent to the publication of this edition of the Guinness Book of Records that throws this "Twin Claim" into serious doubt. More details later.]

The World's Oldest Triplets Who Ever Lived
The longest-lived triplets ever recorded were Faith, Hope, and Charity Cardwell (USA) who were born on May 18, 1899. Faith died first on October 2, 1994 age 95 years 137 days.

The World's Oldest Living Triplets
Marjory Skeaping (neé Scott), Sheila Botterill (neé Scott), and David Scott (UK) have been verified as the world's oldest living triplets. They were born in Edinburgh, SCOTLAND on May 19, 1920. Curiously, their Uncle, Aunt, and their Mother's First Cousin also celebrate their birthdays on May 19th.

The World's Oldest Living Quadruplets
The oldest quadruplets were The Ottmans (GERMANY). Adolf, Ann-Marie, Emma, and Elisabeth were born on May 5, 1912. All four quads lived to the age of 79. In November 2000, there were 992 sets of quadruplets worldwide. Identical quads are quite rare - only about 20 sets worldwide.

Tallest Female Twins in The World**
Heather & Heidi Burge -  6' 4 and 3/4 They were born in  1971, Palos Verdes, Calif  -

Tallest Male Twins in the World**
Michael & James Lanier 7' 4 born in Troy Michigan

Shortest Twins in the World**
John & Greg Rice 2'10  - reside in West Palm Beach, Florida

Longest time a twin has remain undiscovered**
7/97 - a fetus was discovered in the abdomen of a 16 year old - Hisham Ragab of Egypt. A swollen sac found pressing against his kydney turned out to be his 7 inch long, 4lb, 6oz identical twin

Longest Lived Conjoined Twins**
Chang & Eng Bunker from Siam (now Thailand). They were born 5/11/1811 and they passed away within 3 hours of each other at the age of 63 on 1/7/1874

Ronnie & Donnie Gaylon are the oldest living male conjoined twins. They are 47 years old and live in Ohio. For 36 years they traveled in shows, carnivals and the circus. They retired in 1991.

Heaviest Twins**
Billy and Benny Crary - Hendersonville, NC They were normal in size until they were 6 years old. In 1978 Billy was 743 pounds and Benny was 723 pounds. Their waist measurement was 7 ft.

Largest Multiple Birth**
1971 - Dr Gennaro Montanino from Rome-Italy, claimed to have removed 15 fetuses from the uterus of a 35yr old woman after 4 months of pregnancy. A fertility drug was responsible for these Quindecaplets.

***Above fun facts were referenced from the Guiness World Records 2000-Millennium Edition***


Steve Waugh - Cricket player - Australia's inspirational captain - twin brother Mark is also a cricket player
Henry Simmons - actor (NYPD Blue) - twin sister
Chris and Peter Ferraro - hockey players - US
Daniel and Henrik Sedin - hockey players - Sweden
Lori & Gregory Singer - she is a famous cellist/actress, he is a violinist
The Doves (from England)
Seven & the Sun (from New Jersey)
Back II Back
Aaron Carter is a twin
Vin Diesel (real name: mark Vincent) DOB July 18, 1967 twin - Paul
Tim & Tom Gullikson -Tennis
Kerry & Keith Cash - Football - (Indianapolis colts & Kansas City Chiefs & Steelers)
Paul & Morgan Hamm - gymnastics
Mark & Stephen Waugh - Cricket
Frank & Ronald de Boer - Soccer A
lvin & Calvin Harrison - olympic track
Heather & Jennifer Kinley-(DOB NOV 5, 1970) "THE KINLEYS” Country Musical Group
James Taylor & Caroline Smedvig
Mark and Steve Waugh (dob 6/2/65) Fraternal twins who play Cricket for Australia
Aaron and Angel Carter fraternal twin siblings to brother Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys
Heidi and Heather Burge - Basketball Players
Kelly and Coco Miller - Basketball Players
Paul & Morgan Hamm - Olympic Gymnasts
Tim & Tom Gullikson - Tennis Players
Andy Garcia (twin died at birth)
Nicholas & Kelly Schultz
Ed Sullivan
Jim Thrope (football player)
Thornton Wilder
Isabella Rosellini
Jeremy and Jason London (Jeremy in Party of Five)
Tiki Barber & Ronde (football Players)
Matt Geiger (Basketball Player)                                            
Alexandra Paul
Elvis (twin died at birth)
Jose Canseco(baseball player)
Kin Shriner (General Hospital)
Mathew & Mitchell Laurance
Montgomery Clift
Cynthia and Brittany Daniel
Linda Hamilton
Mike & Bob Bryan
John Lovitz
Mark & Mitch Mimbs
John Elway

Mario Andretti

Jane Pauley
Garry Trudeau
Ricky Nelson
Jane Seymour
Cybill Sheperd
James Stewart
Margaret Thatcher
President George W. Bush
Robert DeNiro
Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan
Mel Gibson
Ron Howard
Muhammad Ali
Denzel Washington

Kurt & Kyle Froman

Harvey & Horace Grant
Alanis Morrisette
Steven Tylers wife
Mary-Kate & Ashley Olson
Tia & Tamara Mowry
Robin & Maurice Gibb (Bee Gees)- (DOB Dec 22, 1949)
Won 7 Grammys and were elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996
Ann B. Davis
Gloria Vanderbilt
Keith & Derek Brewer
Renee & Rosie Tenison
Mickey Mantles brothers
Peggy & Patsy Lynn - country singers
Gunnar & Mathew Nelson (Born September 20th, 1967) "LOVE & AFFECTION" went to number  # 1 on  the 1991 billboard award chart
Roz & Marilyn Borden-The “I Love Lucy Twins”
Deidre Hall (Days of Our Lives Soap Star & Andrea Hall-Gengler - DOB 10/31)
Liberace (twin died at birth)
Vivian & Marian Brown
Jill & Jacqueline Hennessy
Tim & Tom Gulliksen
Abby Van Buren & Ann Landers-(DOB 1918) “Dear Abby & Ann Landers” - Advice Columnists
Mark & Scott Kelly - Asronauts



Brendan Shanahan (Red Wings player)
Ray Romano - actor
Cheryl Tiegs - model
Chuck Norris and wife Gena - actor
Dave Mathews and Ahsley - singer
James Taylor and Caroline - singer
Melvin Gora and Gisel - (Orioles baseball player)
Jane Swift - Governor of Massachusettes
Singer James Taylor and wife Caroline Smedvig
Luis Gonzales- Arizona Diamondbacks has triplets and his wife is a twin
Al Pacino & Beverly D'Angelo- boy and girl
Kathy Moriarity
Dr. Drew has triplets
Holly Robinson & Rodney Peete
Nelson Rockefeller
Margaret Thatcher
Madeline Albright
Andrew Cuomo & Kerry Kennedy
Michigan Governor John Engler and Michelle Engler
Cleopatra (ruler of Egypt - 48BC) & Mark Antony - Alexander Helios and
Cleopatra Selene
Ingrid Bergman & Roberto Rossellini
Debby Boone & Gabriel Ferrer
Beverly Cleary (author)
Nat King Cole (musician)
Joan Crawford (adopted two kids and called them twins, but they weren't really)
Susan Hayward (actress)
Joseph Kennedy
Loretta Lynn
Roy Rogers & Dale Evans
Jimmy Stewart (actor)
Andy Williams (Singer)
George Bush
Stanley Tucci
Steve Forbes
Mel Gibson
Patricia Richardson
Ray Romano
Michael Douglas
Jane Seymour
Muhammad Ali
Ron Howard - Jocelyn Carlyle and Paige Carlyle (twins, born 1985)
Robert DeNiro
Ed Asner
Corbin Bernsen
Meredith Baxter
Bing Crosby
Mia Farrow
Michael J. Fox
Lee Majors
Jane Pauley
Cybill Shepherd
William Shakespeare
Donald Sutherland
Nikki Taylor
Denzel Washington - Malcolm and Olivia
Mia Farrow
Richard Thomas (has triplets)
Malcolm X




Ripperman -- with Timothy Bottoms & Mike Norris (1994) -- Bob & Ed Johnson
Nell - starring Jody Foster
The Prince and the Pauper
The Dark Mirror
Village of the Damned
The Parent Trap
What ever Happened to Baby Jane?
The Shining
Liquid Sky
Basket Case
Dead Ringers
Big Business
Dominic and Eugene
The Krays
Double Impact
Lies of the Twins
A kiss Before Dying
Raising Cain
The Man in the Iron Mask
The Parent Trap-remake
Twins Fall Idaho
Godfather I and III