Frequency distribution in nature is represented as a symmetrical bell-shaped curve which in simpler words means that most of the observations fall near the average and fewer observations lie near the extremes. An apple tree, for example, will bear most fruits of or near the average size while fewer and fewer will deviate more and more from the average. Similar is the case of twins. Most infants are born conforming to the average mode and size, but few, like twins, are exceptions. Twins are usually identical or fraternal depending upon the mode of their development. They are considered identical when developed from one egg and fraternal when developed from two separate eggs. The trend of twin births is on the rise in the U.S., and according to the CDC’s ‘National Vital Statistics Report,’ there were 50,375 twin births in 1996 while the number has crossed 125,134 in 2002. Generally, the rate of twin births is around 1 percenet, but the highest rate of twin births being over 4.5 percent is observed among the Yoruba people of Nigeria. The town of Igboora of the Yoruba tribe has the highest rate of twin births incidence, and 150 twins are born of every 1,000 births. It is, therefore, regarded as Nigeria’s and the World’s capital of twins.
1. First Twins; Jenna and Barbara Bush
Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager were born to the former President of United States George W. Bush and the former First Lady Laura Bush on November 25, 1981. They are granddaughters of the former U.S. President George H. W. Bush. They are the first twins who ever lived in White House. The twin sisters had been actively engaged in writing books and attending Presidential events during their stay at White House. The elder sister, Barbara Pierce Bush, graduated from Yale University, and she is the co-founder of the Global Health Corps., offering healthcare facilities in developing countries. Jenna Bush Hager is an author and correspondent for NBC. She advocates volunteerism and is married to Henry Chase Hager. Both the sisters form the most famous and the most popular twins in the U.S.
2. Robin and Maurice Gibb
Robin and Maurice Gibb are twin brothers born in Douglas, Isle of Man, on December 22, 1949. Maurice Gibb died on January 12, 2003 in Florida following a heart complication. Along with their elder brother Barry Gibb, they formed the famous musical band the Bee Gees. Robin and Maurice Gibb contributed their vocals to the band. They were among the most influential people in the world. The Bee Gees have won nine Grammy awards, five American Music Awards, a World Music Award, and they have also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They started their group in Australia but made their breakthrough after traveling to England.
3. Chang and Eng Bunker
Chang and Eng Bunker are twins born on May 11, 1811 in what is currently Thailand then known as Siam, where the term ‘Siamese Twins’ was coined after their country of birth. The term ‘Siamese Twins’ is applied to either of the identical twins born with their bodies joined at some point on account of an incomplete division of the producing ovum. The Bunkers’ bodies were joined at the sternum, the breast bone, by a cartilage. Surgery to separate them would have currently been an easily available option, but it was not so at the time they were born. In 1874 Chang died of pneumonia, and Eng, who was still alive, refused to be separated, and he too died ultimately.
4. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Fuller Olsen were born to David Olsen and Jarnette Jones in Sherman Oaks, California on June 13, 1986. They are fraternal twins. They are fashion designers and actresses. Having started performing as actresses at an early age of nine months old, they have become the youngest, richest actresses with an estimated net worth of $100 million. The Olsens were cast as Michelle Tanner in the ABC sitcom Full House which started in 1987 and ended in 1995. The Olsens continued performing throughout the tenure of Full House. They were considered fashion icons. They performed in several films and have been honored with numerous awards including: 2004 star on the Walk of Fame, Young Artist Award, Teen Choice Award, TV Land Award, Razzie Award, Kids Choice Award, and they won most of the awards twice.
5. Cleopatra’s Twins; The Sun and Moon
Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene II were born as twins to the Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Mark Antony in Alexandria, Egypt on December 25, 40 BC. ‘Helios’ and ‘Selene’ mean ‘sun’ and ‘moon’ respectively. Caesar Augustus celebrated his military victory after the death of Cleopatra and Mark Antony by parading the twins in heavy golden chains. Cleopatra Selene II afterwards married African King Juba II of Numidia. Selene ruled Mauritania but the fate of Helios is not known exactly.
6. The Tocci Twins
Giacomo and Giovanni Battista Tocci were joined twins that were born to Luigia Mezzanrosa and Giovanni Tocci on July 4, 1875. They had one umbilical cord. Mezzanrosa, the mother, was 19 at the time, and the delivery was normal. But the sight of the twins caused a nervous breakdown of the father who had to be admitted to the lunatic asylum where he took one month to recover. The twins were exhibited in many countries. They had separate heads, hearts and stomachs and rib cages joined at the sixth rib. They had a common excretory and reproductive system. They had four arms and two legs, but they were unable to walk. In the 1880s they were exhibited in the major cities of France, Poland, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland. Having seen a photograph of the twins, Mark Twain wrote the short story Those Extraordinary Twins. After 1897 the twins lived lives as recluses in Venice, Italy and died in 1940.
7. Gin Kanie and Kin Naita
Gin Kanie and Kin Naita, affectionately named as Kinsan and Ginsan, were born in Narumi, a small village in the Aichi Prefecture, Japan on August 1, 1892. ‘Kin,’ meaning ‘gold’ was the elder sister while ‘Gin,’ meaning ‘silver’ was the younger sister. The twins are remembered with great respect in Japan. The elder sister Kin died on January 23, 2000 at the age of 107. The younger twin, Gin, died on February 28, 2001 at the age of 108 years. As such they were the longest-living twins in Japan and renowned the world over. New York Times and BBC news featured them in their publications. They visited Korea when they were over 100 years old, and it was their first-ever foreign visit. They were greeted by 1,000 twins there who told them jokingly that by appearing in the media they were trying to save money for their old age.
8. James II of Scotland and Alexander Stewart, Duke of Rothesay
The twins, James II of Scotland and Alexander Stewart, Duke of Rothesay, were born to James I and Joan Beaufort in Hollyrood Palace in Edinburgh on October 16, 1430. Duke of Rothesay is the honor given to the heir apparent of Scotland. Alexander Stewart died in infancy. James I was assassinated on February 21, 1437, and the Duke of Rothesay, who was six years old then, succeeded him as James II.
9. Princess Paulina and Prince Moritz of Hesse
The royal twins, Princess Paulina Elisabeth Adelheid Tatiana Suzanne and Prince Moritz Ludwig Georg Wolf, were born to hereditary Prince Henrich Donatus of Hesse and his wife Floria-Franziska Grafin von Faber-Castell at Frankfurt am Main on March 26, 2007. The twins were christened on July 21, 2007. Prince Donatus became the head of the House of Hesse after the death of his father Philip in 1980. Prince Moritz is the second in line to head the House of Hesse.
10. Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine of Denmark
The twin siblings Prince Vincent Frederik Minik Alexander and Princess Josephine were born to Frederik Crown Prince of Denmark and Mary Crown Princess of Denmark on January 8, 2011 at Rigs Hospitalet, The Copenhagen University Hospital, in Copenhagen. He was born 26 minutes before his twin sister. Prince Vincent is fourth in line to the Danish throne. His father, elder brother Prince Christian, and elder sister Princess Isabella, precede him. Sixtus Battery at Holmen Naval Base in Copenhagen fired a 21-gun salute to mark the arrival of the royal twins.
The rate of infant mortality is very high in the underdeveloped countries, and it is probably to make up for it that there is some natural tendency for increased twin births in those countries. Twins seem to appear either as special gifts or as a makeup blessing. It is not uncommon to see two kernels in an almond or two bananas in one peel. When threatened by starvation or famine-like drastic conditions, the living beings, including human beings, animals, and plants try to produce as much as possible to survive in the form of the next generation.