Ready for Brace class

Not news: Irish wolfhound mother gives birth to seven puppies.

News: Two of those puppies are identical twins:

[S]omething was different about this delivery. When he started the procedure, [Dr. Kurt] de Cramer noticed that the wolfhound had an unusual bulging by her uterus.

At first, he thought the lump was excess fluid surrounding a foetus. De Cramer painstakingly extracted this foetus from the bulge by making an incision into the dog’s uterus.

That was when the real shock came. He found not one, but two foetuses. They were both attached with umbilical cords to the same placenta.

Five siblings followed in single file, connected to five separate placentas.

It is thought that identical twins are rare because, when two foetuses share one placenta, they do not get enough nutrients from the mother and are therefore less likely to survive.

For instance, identical twin foetuses have been reported in horses, but none have survived. A horse’s placenta is not efficient enough to transport oxygen for two foetuses.

Citation: DOI: 10.1111/rda.12746.


  1. fillyjonk »

    1 September 2016 · 1:21 pm

    I was gonna say Pound and Pumpkin Cake would be an impossibility, then, except they’d have to be fraternal twins, one being male and the other female. (And, well, there’s that unicorn/pegasus thing too….)

  2. CGHill »

    1 September 2016 · 1:39 pm

    Especially considering that both parents were earth ponies.

    A famed “Biology is Magic” poster attempted to explain all this.

  3. fillyjonk »

    1 September 2016 · 2:32 pm

    Yup, that’s the one I dubbed “Epistasis is Magic” because the Pegasus inheritance pattern ALMOST looks a little like an epistatic interaction. (Though they’re really trying to make it polygenic, which I think it would probably have to be…..and I’ve spent way too much time worrying about this, and of course with alicornisation everything goes out the window….)

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