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TagConjoined twins and individuality

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The Explicitly Human Experience of Growing Up as a Twin

A philosopher muses on growing up as one of a set of two people

At Aeon, Wellington College philosophy professor Helena de Bres, muses on her experience of being a twin. Her experience is statistically predictable; about 3% of live births in the United States are twin births. But of these, only about 30% are identical twins, formed when a single fertilized egg (zygote) splits. Most twins are “wombmates” — siblings who happen to get started at the same time. de Bres starts by discussing a much more unusual situation in which a surviving child has absorbed a fraternal twin prenatally, becoming a genetic human chimera. Cases tend to be identified by accident, in connection with some other enquiry: In 2015, a man from Washington took a cheek swab paternity test that said he Read More ›