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The Science Behind: Conjoined Twins

Conjoined twins are quite rare. Maybe even rarer than diamonds! The term "conjoined twins" means twins that are somehow connected to one another from birth. It's fascinating to see how well they get along and how many teamwork skills they possess. Conjoined twins are perhaps some of the most flexible types of people there are in the world. But how do this rare phenomenon of twins being connected occur?

According to Mayo Clinic, "conjoined twins develop when an early embryo only partially separates to form two individuals." (An embryo is an early stage of development for a baby that has not been born yet.) To simplify this, imagine a ball of clay. When a mother is expecting twins, this ball of clay (which is representing an embryo) splits into two tinier balls. When a mother is expecting one child, the embryo or ball of clay doesn't split. When it comes to conjoined twins, the embryo attempts to split, but it doesn't end up splitting completely. Think of the two clay balls that used to be one big clay ball. They are still partially connected. For example, they may be connected from their sides or from their front.

From there, the twins develop almost regularly. Two fetuses develop from the embryo (think of a fetus like a sapling hatching from a seed, which is the embryo). Mayo Clinic elaborates on this by stating that, "Although two fetuses will develop from this embryo, they will remain physically connected — most often at the chest, abdomen or pelvis." But what did I mean when I said that the twins develop ALMOST regularly? Well, in some cases, conjoined twins share an organ.

Now that we've covered what happens before birth, let's see what happens after. There's good news and bad news. The bad news is that, sadly, many sets of conjoined twins end up passing away shortly after being born and serious health issues can be developed later in life. Good news! With the development of technology and surgical procedures, the survival rate is increasing! In case you're still sad from the bad news, here's a cute GIF for you!

There are even surgeries for separating conjoined twins. Sometimes, these surgeries are necessary for survival, and other times, well, you're just plain annoyed of your twin. Just kidding! Some conjoined twins are extremely close, emotionally and psychically. In these cases, they've got each other's backs (perhaps quite literally)! Nonetheless, this phenomenon continues to aid the development of technology and friendships! Until next time!




Conjoined twins - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic


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