Of the seven Irish wolfhound puppies that South African veterinarian Kurt de Cramer was ushering into the delivery room via a cesarean section, two gave him pause. Unlike their siblings, these male pups shared the same placenta—a remarkable distinction Cramer had never seen in his 26 years in practice.
Once the delivery was over, Cramer was able to investigate further. Blood samples tested by reproductive specialists confirmed his suspicions: The duo were genetically identical twins.
They may be the world’s first. Cramer told the BBC that while it’s possible twins have been seen in canines in the past, no one has ever documented their existence by way of DNA confirmation. (The findings were published in the Reproduction in Domestic Animals journal.) It was a fluke, as the odds of anyone taking notice if their mother hadn’t needed a C-section would have been almost impossible; she likely would’ve eaten the placenta evidence after a natural birth.
The littermates, Cullen and Romulus, look the part, with only minor variations in their body markings. Although smaller than expected at birth, at six weeks they’ve matured normally and are expected to lead healthy, Twitter- and Instagram-documented lives.
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