Scientists at the University of Pretoria in South Africa have confirmed in a research paper that they discovered identical Irish wolfhound twins.
The puppies, both attached by individual umbilical cords to the same placenta, were delivered via a Caesarean section in South Africa’s Rant en Dal Animal Hospital in Mogale City by veterinarian Kurt de Cramer.
After the puppies’ delivery, de Cramer had reproductive specialists confirm that the dogs were, indeed, twins. “When I realized that the puppies were of the same gender and that they had very similar markings, I also immediately suspected that they might be identical twins having originated from the splitting of an embryo,” de Cramer told BBC.
While this is the first time a pair of canine identical twins has been confirmed, identical twin puppies isn’t necessarily a rare occurrence, researchers say: “There have been rumors about twins in dogs before,” Carolynne Joone, one of the reproductive specialists working on the case, told BBC. “We just happened to be lucky enough to be able to confirm it genetically.”
What does appear to be rare, however, is that both puppies survived and are healthy; cases of identical twins have been reported in horses, for example, but none of those fetuses have survived.
A dog has given birth to the first identical twin puppies https://t.co/KQswvWOc0k pic.twitter.com/a7L3ACV2nd
— BBC Earth (@BBCEarth) August 31, 2016