Identical twins are born not only with a sibling and a mirror image, but also a best friend. And new research has found that the built-in social bond that comes from being a twin might actually increase an individual's lifespan. According to a 2016 study published in the journal Plos One, twins—both identical and fraternal—outlive the general population, but identical twins outlive fraternal sets. The study looked at siblings in the Danish Twin Registry, which tracked twins born in Denmark from 1870 to 1900, and found that in cases of both male and female twins, they had a longer life expectancy than their singleton counterparts. The reason for this, or so the researchers think, is that twins protect each other. "There is benefit to having someone who is socially close to you who is looking out for you," lead author and University of Washington professor David Sharrow said in a press release. "They may provide material or emotional support that lead to better longevity outcomes." But if the benefit is purely born of support, why are identical twins better off than fraternal ones? "There is some evidence that identical twins are actually closer than fraternal twins," Sharrow said. "If they're even more similar, they may be better able to predict the needs of their twin and care for them." The good news for non-twins? Sharrow says that even singletons can learn from this study and get some protection if they invest in strong social relationships. "Most people may not have a twin, but as a society we may choose to invest in social bonds as a way to promote health and longevity."
The Science of Identical Twins
These mirror-image siblings have provided insight into genetics for years.
Why Is Everyone Having Twins?
They seem to be more common than ever.
10 Surprising Facts About Twins
#1. They can have different dads.
Written by Curiosity Staff September 6, 2016
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