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Are There Any Benefits to Being a Twin?

By studying historical data on twins born in Denmark between 1870 and 1900, researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle have found that twins tend to live longer than the rest of the population. They also discovered that identical twins actually live longer than fraternal twins. On average, male identical twins lived the longest out of all the types of twins featured in the study. The researchers surmised that this longevity is at least partly due to the increased social and emotional support system inherent among twins.

Two for the price of one:

  • Approximately one in 80 births in the Western world results in twins. The twin birth rate increased by 76 percent between 1980 and 2009, possibly as a result of technological improvements in fertility treatments.
  • The Yoruba people of Western Africa have the world's highest rate of twin births. Scientists have suggested that this could be due to that society’s consumption of a yam with a natural phytoestrogen that can stimulate ovaries to release more eggs.
  • Women who have a family history of fraternal twins have a higher chance of conceiving fraternal twins themselves. The link, researchers say, is a genetic tendency for hyper-ovulation.
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