Puzzle. Two girls were born to the same mother, at the same time, on the same day, in the same month, in the same year, and yet somehow they’re not twins. Why not?
I won’t tell you the expected answer, but my students are inventive. They suggested all sorts of scenarios.
Scenario 1. There are two different fathers. I had to google this and discovered that, indeed, it is possible. This phenomenon is called heteropaternal superfecundation. It happens when two of a woman’s eggs are fertilized by sperm from two different men. Unfortunately for my students, such babies would still be called twins.
Scenario 2. The girls are born on the same date, but not on the same day. This could happen when transitioning from the Julian to Gregorian calendar. The difference in birth times could be up to two weeks. I had to google this and discovered that twins can be born months apart. The record holders have a condition called uterus didelphys, which means that the mother has two wombs. Unfortunately for my students, such babies would still be called twins.
Scenario 3. The second girl is a clone. This scenario can potentially happen in the future. Fortunately for that student, I suspect that such babies would be called clones, not twins.
I decided to invent my own scenario outside of the actual answer, and I did.
Scenario 4. Two girls are from the same surrogate mother, but they are not twins. I had to google this and discovered that this actually happened: Surrogate mother of ‘twins’ finds one is hers.
Sometimes life is more interesting than math puzzles.Share: