Identical twins are considered special among humans, but out in the animal world, they’re even more rare. They’re so rare, in fact, that in 2016 we have the very first confirmed instance of identical twin puppies ever. And, yes, they’re as adorable as you’re imagining.
Kurt de Cramer, a vet working in a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa, has the honor of the discovery. According to Atlas Obscura, de Cramer was performing a C-section on an Irish wolfhound when he noticed something very unusual in the dog world: Two puppies sharing a single placenta — aka IDENTICAL. TWINS. (Their names are Cullen and Romulus because we know you’re wondering.)
"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," he told BBC Earth.
Turns out, de Cramer’s hunch was correct; blood and tissue samples confirmed that they puppies were, in fact, identical twins. What makes this so special is that animals, dogs included, have a hard time bringing identical twins to term.
"It is even less likely for placenta-sharing puppies to survive, because of several complications relating to nutrient and oxygen supply from a single placenta having to do the job that is normally done by two placentas," de Cramer explained to BBC Earth.
But Cullen and Romulus defied those odds and are happy and healthy, de Cramer reports. Now, we hope that more identical twin puppies find the strength they did and populate the earth with identically adorable dogs for us to cuddle.
Image: Twitter (@BBCEarth)