By Kiera Olson
Strike one. Strike two. Strike three. The Minnesota had a slow start to the season, but they’ve quickly picked up steam with their recent winning streak and look to be strong this season. But after you think about all this, have you ever stopped to wonder why the mascot is the twin? There’s no real history linking the twin to the area. Being a twin myself, I definitely have questioned why Minnesota’s mascot is the Twins. The answer lies in geography: the twins are based out of two cities located geographically next to each other. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to tell where one city ends and the next one begins. They’re very similar, although there are some differences, just like sibling twins. We will first evaluate the differences between the various types of twins. Then we will explore both the benefits and challenges of being a twin. Finally, I will cover some of the unique characteristics that many twins are prone to demonstrate.Many people only think of the first two types: identical and fraternal. However, there are five more very rare types: mirror image, half-identical, mixed chromosome, superfetation, and superfecundation, according to an online article entitled, “There Are Seven Different Types of Twins.” Mirror image twins are exactly what they sound like: the twins are mirror images of each other. For example, if one twin has a birthmark on his/her right shoulder, the other twin has the same birthmark on his/her left shoulder. Half-identical twins have half their genes the same. To explain this, the twins received the exact same genes from the mother, but all different genes from the father. Another category of twins is mixed chromosome. For twins to be considered in this group two different sperms have to fertilize two separate eggs which then fuse. In this case, both twins carry the XX and XY chromosomes. Less than 25 cases of this have ever been identified in the history of mankind, the article goes on to say. Superfetation and superfecundation twins are even more rare. In these instances, the mother becomes pregnant with another child while she is already pregnant. Here, the twins may be born a couple months apart, but they are still considered twins because they shared the womb at the same time.
The two much more common types of twins are identical twins and fraternal twins. Identical twins occur when one fertilized egg separates into two individual units. This means just because two twins may look alike, they are not necessarily identical. If they don’t come from one egg, then the twins do not fall into the category of identical twins, and become what are considered fraternal twins. Fraternal twins, like Casey and I, are the most common type of twin, not that twins are common. Twins are automatically fraternal twins if they don’t fall into any of the other categories. Therefore, all mixed gender twins are fraternal twins, as opposed to identical twins.
Overall, there are many benefits and challenges to being a twin. Studies show twins are expected to have heightened amounts of competitiveness, according to Pamela Fierro, author of the article, “Twin Sibling Rivalry.” I find a lot of truth in that statement. Overall, I consider this a benefit, as it pushes me to work harder and try to be a better version of myself. Another benefit of being a twin is you will never forget your sibling’s birthday! However, that is also a challenge or disadvantage to being a twin. You have to share your birthday and just about everything else in life.
Additionally, many twins are prone to demonstrate characteristics that are unique only to multiples. Twins are said to have closer bonds than other siblings who aren’t a multiple. This seems self-explanatory, as you tend to be closer to those who you share more life experiences with, and you’re likely to have more similar experiences with someone your exact age, or at least someone born within a couple minutes of you. My parents have told me that when Casey and I were aged three and four, we had a secret language. It was entirely made up words, and no one knew it but ourselves. We still spoke English at the time, as we were in preschool during this time, but we also spoke our made-up, nonsensical language. If someone would tell us or ask us something, and one of us didn’t understand it, the other twin would explain it in our secret language, and then the first twin would finally understand it. An article entitled “Seven Surprising Facts About Raising Twins,” explains that this is actually very common among multiples at a young age and has given an actual term for it: cryptophasia, which literally means “secret speech.” In fact, about 50% of young fraternal twins have a secret speech. Unfortunately, many of these nonsensical languages die out by the age of five or six, so they’re very unlikely to become the next great language of the world.
I’ve been a twin for my whole life, or rather, every second but 60, as I am exactly 60 seconds older than Casey. And yes, when you are a twin, every single second counts. Just ask any twin. There are many benefits, challenges, and characteristics unique to being a twin. Being a fraternal twin, I don’t look like my brother. Even though I used to try to convince him he was adopted, I’m happy that he’s my bloodline twin. I really did luck out.
Kiera Olson is a student at Fillmore Central High School. She is one of eight area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its eighteenth year.