Friday, March 01, 2019

Malcolm Saville was right: You can have identical boy and girl twins

Because I started reading Malcolm Saville's Lone Pine stories at a tender age, I identified most with the twins Dickie and Mary.

They are nine years old in the first story Mystery at Witchend and have aged a couple of years by the time final one was published 35 years later.

There role in the stories haddiminished by then, in part a reflection of the shrinking of the world of younger children across the years from 1943 to 1978.

Many children's adventure stories of that era have twins among their cast, no doubt because it made it easier to present a family group of children who were close in age. But Saville is one of the few writers who gives you an idea of what it must feel like to be a twin.

In presenting identical boy and girl twins, he has always been accused of defying biology. But it seems that, though the phenomenon is vanishingly rare, such twins can be born.

Over to the Guardian:
A pair of twins have stunned researchers after it emerged that they are neither identical nor fraternal – but something in between. 
The team say the boy and girl, now four years old, are the second case of semi-identical twins ever recorded, and the first to be spotted while the mother was pregnant. 
The situation was a surprise to the researchers. An ultrasound of the 28-year old mother at six weeks suggested the twins were identical – with signs including a shared placenta. But it soon became clear all was not as it seemed. 
“What happened was the mother came back for her routine ultrasound some months later, and we saw one [twin] to be a boy and one to be a girl,” said Dr Michael Gabbett, first author of the report from Queensland University of Technology in Australia.
The little girl in this case suffered serious health problems, but it seems Malcolm Saville was right after all.

Thanks to Keith Frankish, philosopher and Saville admirer, for sending me this report.

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