Physical traits often serve as the initial basis for determining whether two people are related or not. This, of course, is not really that reliable because there are a lot of siblings who barely carry any trace of resemblance with each other.
The case can be different for twins. Biologically, twins are conceived and born under the same pregnancy. However, they can either be identical or fraternal.
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Identical twins are easily distinguishable due to their identical features. Fraternal twins are simply described as different looking siblings born at the same time.
However, there is another kind of set of twins, whose extremely different physical traits have baffled a lot of people and left them in doubt as to whether they are really siblings or not.
The Case of Maria and Lucy Aylmer
To most people, Maria and Lucy are just your typical 18-year- old close friends.
Lucy is recognized for her fair complexion and bright blue eyes as well as for her long and straight, ginger-colored hair. Maria, on the other hand, has caramel-colored complexion and thick, curly black hair. Their rather distinguishable physical traits make it hard for anyone to believe that these two girls are actually twins.
Unlike most fraternal twins, both Lucy and Maria have a mixed race parentage that greatly contributed to how their physical traits came about.
‘Most twins look like two peas in a pod – but we couldn’t look more different if we tried. We don’t look like we have the same parents, let alone having been born at the same time.’
Lucy Aylmer says of their uniqueness.
Siblings Maria and Lucy Aylmer were born in 1997 in Gloucester, the United Kingdom to a white father named Vince and half Jamaican mother named Donna. Their father, 53 years old, works as a scaffolder, while their mother Donna, 47 is a warehouse worker.
Their mother revealed that she was simply “astonished” when she first saw her daughters, shortly after they were born as nothing from the scans or sonograms prepared her on how the twins would look like.
“It was such a shock for her because obviously things like skin color don’t show up on scans before birth. So she had no idea that we were so different. When the midwife handed us both to her, she was just speechless.”
Lucy shares their mother’s account of their birth.
The school was not a problem for these two and they certainly did not have any way of playing tricks on their classmates.
‘We were in the same class, but no one had a problem telling us apart. Twins are known for swapping identities. But there was no way Maria and I could ever do anything like that.
Lucy said as she recounts of their experiences in school.
‘No one ever believes we are twins. Even when we dress alike, we still don’t look like sisters, let alone twins. Friends have even made us produce our birth certificates to prove it.’
Lucy explained that one of the greatest things about a twin that looks different from her is that people don’t mistake them from one another when people see them. And, the twins’ personalities are also as different as their physical characteristics.
Red-headed Lucy, who is reportedly the ‘shy’ one, currently studies art and design at Gloucester College, while the ‘outgoing’ dark-haired Maria studies law and psychology at Cheltenham College.
Maria and Lucy have three older siblings, George, 23, Chynna, 22, and Jordan, 21. Unlike the twins, whose physical traits are ‘found at the opposite dies of the spectrum’, their siblings possess physical traits that can only be described by Lucy as ‘in between’.
Lucy is the only one among the five siblings to have red hair and a fair complexion.
The Science behind Bi-racial Twins
Decades ago, bi-racial twin births were almost unheard of. However, because of the increasing number of biracial relationships, the number of cases of bi-racial twins also rose.
Biologically speaking, fraternal twins develop from two eggs that were fertilized by two separate sperm cells.
According to BBC, the chances of biracial twins to be born with different skin color is about 1 out of 500. However, this only applies to non-identical twins.
Dr. Jim Wilson, a population geneticist at the University of Edinburg College explains this phenomenon:
‘I think of it as a deck of cards, Imagine you are at the casino and you have been dealt a hand of cards, some will be black, and some red … By chance, some have passed more of the European skin colour variants, almost all of them, on to one child, whereas more of the African ones, just by chance, on to the other.’
It was also analyzed that both Lucy and Maria’s mother carried the genes for both white and black skin and the chances of passing them to her twins were probable.
Despite their differences, the twins have expressed the fact that their different physical traits have not hindered them from being close.
Lucy proudly said:
“Now we have grown older, even though we still look so different, the bond between us is much stronger. Now we are proud of the fact that we are each other’s twin sister. Maria loves telling people at college that she has a white twin – and I’m very proud of having a black twin.”
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