Village of Twins

This sounds like a Twilight Zone episode: The village of Kodinki in India is home to more than 200 sets of twins, and the number is increasing. The village's population is only 15,000 people. From Reuters:

"Based on scientific facts, we feel something in the environment is causing this. It could be something in the water," said a local doctor, M.K. Sribiju.

"All the world over the cause of twins is mainly because of drugs. Everywhere in the Western world, people are exposed to fertility drugs, their food habits, they consume more dairy products. Everywhere the age of marriage is increasing. There are late marriages predisposed to occurrence of twins," he said.

However in Kodinji, most marriages are between people aged 18 to 20 years old.

"All the factors leading to the occurrence of twinning world wide, we cannot see it here. There is something unknown that is causing this phenomenon," he said.

The locals also believe it has to do with the water. Kodinji is surrounded by water in the fields and during the monsoon season it becomes inaccessible from heavy rains.

"Doctors baffled by Indian village of over 200 sets of twins"


  1. I thought the main reason for twins is heredity. Maybe it’s just a demographic oddity–lots of families with ancestral histories filled with twins happened to settle in one particular village.

  2. In a related story, “Hilarious hijinks perpetrated by high-spirited twins higher than average in small Indian village. Dubbed the Parent Trap effect, the village copes with increased amount of confusion and pranks with a wry shake of the head.”

  3. We have 5 sets of twins on our small street alone. Ours are the only identical ones, but it’s still weird. 4 sets were born within 4 months of each other.


  4. “something in the water” sounds like such cliched speculation, I am surprised even a country doctor would say it.

    If you really believe that there is something in the water that is screwing with reproductive systems then I would think its time to start shipping in bottled water and doing extensive tests. 20 years down the road testicular and ovarian cancers might be spiking.

    1. “something in the water” sounds like such cliched speculation

      My hometown had a very high number of twins and is a Superfund clean-up site. I’m just sayin.

  5. There are some killer quotes in the article.

    “35-45 twins per live birth.” How do they all fit in?

    “It’s a virgin village,’ said Dr Sribiju, a researcher.” Ha! All evidence to the contrary.

    “…. the parents are busy trying to tell their children apart. It doesn’t help that many of the twins have similar names….” Whose fault is that? Time to learn from other people’s mistakes.

    Also, I propose that other places around the world should twin with this village. Why not make it the world’s most twinned village for the fun of it?

  6. When we had our twins we did a bunch of research on rates of twinning and how it occurs. What we read was that fraternal twinning can be hereditary (dropping multiple eggs) while monozygotic (identical) twinning was random.

    Statistically, in the past, 1/3 of twins were identical although now I believe it runs around 1/10 being identical in North America. This due to an increased number of fraternal twins from fertility drugs and older mothers.

  7. Hmmm, the article is unclear on whether the increase is in identical twins or fraternal. The two have different causes. The doctor quoted talks about twinning increases due to drugs but that’s only in fraternal twins.

  8. From reading the article, Identical twins are mentioned several times, so I have to assume that they are referring to the incidence of monozygotic twins.

  9. I’m more concerned about the absurdly high number of vanished twins in my apartment building. “Dude, remember that growth on my neck I went to see the doctor about last week? It had teeth in it!” Every other week I hear this, it seems. And then there’s the tiresome freakish nonsense that goes on every time the unborn twin embedded in someone’s skull wakes up and starts fucking with them, making them do all kinds of random crap. Then you confront them on it, and they’re all, “Can’t help it! Hidden twin! Got an eyeball and a jawbone in my brain.”

    I have to say, though, that it’s the craniopagus parasiticus cases that are the worst. There’s this Norwegian house painter upstairs who puts a little matching derby on his “little brother” and is always poking it at parties to make it move its mouth and roll its eyes around. I hate that guy.

  10. I’m an identical twin and everything I’ve ever seen on the subject suggests that while environment and heredity can affect fraternal twinning, identical twinning is and always has been random.

    This article is maddeningly ambiguous as to whether or not the rate of identical twins in this village is actually any higher than elsewhere. I suspect they chose that photo and pushed the “identical” angle because it makes a better story.

  11. Dunno if you can tell from the small version of the photo used here, but when I saw this on Yahoo news yesterday, it was very clearly Photoshopped. A kid, and the mirror image of the same kid. If there are so many twins, how come they couldn’t find one pair to take a picture of?

  12. Twins occur in different populations at different frequencies. I remember reading that in the USA, overall, it’s about 1 in 80 births. In Japan, it’s much less common, around 1 in 200 (if you’re a set of tall gaijin twins, and want lots of attention on the street, hit Tokyo.)
    And in some parts of Africa, it’s as much as 1 in 20. So 1 in 35 doesn’t sound that odd.
    Sounds like a slow news day, and a relatively inbred/isolated population, “surrounded by water for much of the rainy season.”

  13. @ #19 posted by Lauren O

    I took another gander at the photo here, and I don’t think this one is Photoshopped. The folds in the burqas (sp?) are different, and the lighting direction is consistent across both faces.

  14. In fact with about 35-45 twins per live birth

    Oh, well that explains it. A small number of women are having dozens of babies with each delivery.

  15. @ #22 posted by Antinous / Moderator

    Actually “35-45 twins per live birth” works out to -10 twins, or -5 sets of twins.

    It’s a bit like the square root of -1, my favorite number.

  16. So if this village has more sets of twins than any other village in the world, then they also have the most EVIL twins in the world. Half of all those statistics are plotting a nightmare scenario.

  17. This can only be the work of a visionary pornographer/geneticist intent on taking advantage of the Identical Twin Exemption from the usual revulsion for incest. Why India? Huge growth trends, lax medical ethics, and the adult entertainment space is not already saturated. Reserve your copy of the Kali Twins now.

  18. “So if this village has more sets of twins than any other village in the world, then they also have the most EVIL twins in the world. Half of all those statistics are plotting a nightmare scenario.”

    Remember Village of the Damned?

  19. It looks like there is an increased rate of identical twinning. While this is generally considered to be purely random and not affected by fertility drugs or any other factor, there is some evidence that identical twinning can be hereditary on the *father’s* side–that there is some genetic mechanism that is more likely to cause the newly fertilized egg to divide. It’s possible that this small village is just showing us a classic example of founder effect with an increased occurance of identical twins.

  20. I was always of the understanding that you can have a genetic predisposition toward multiple births. I used to live on a farm that ran sheep, and over the years my old man had culled out those that didn’t have multiple births, with the result that after several generations pretty much every ewe had twins or better.
    As this villiage is ‘inaccessible for much of the year’ I would suggets that the gene pool in the is a little limited in some respects, and the tendency for twins is a result of that.

  21. little villages need to be known for SOMETHING. Even if they have to give the facts a little help.

  22. #30

    Those sheep twins are fraternal, the results of more than one egg being released and then fertilized, not the same as these identical humans.

    I have a friend who had her third child recently after previously having identical twin girls. She was telling me the chances of her having a second set of identical twins were now lower than the general population since so few families had more than one set of identical twins. I pointed out her error as prior twin births do not affect the probability of future twin births (she’s trained in statistics too!). She looked surprised (and slightly worried). Luckily she only had one child :)

  23. I’m completely creeped out by identical twins. (Sorry twins, I’m sure most of you are lovely people.)

    I blame Hollywood.

  24. @ Pantograph #34:

    I don’t care for how Hollywood usually presents twins, but I still think we get a better shake than people with albinism. I can’t think of a single on-screen albino who wasn’t some kind of crazed assassin.

  25. How timely. This weekend is the annual Twins Day weekend in Twinsburg, OH (next town over from me). Twins and all kinds of multiples descend on Twinsburg every year. There are parades and contests; it’s a spectacle.

    1. Anonymous,

      E-mail me with some identifying info and I’ll find your user name for you.

  26. I don’t think it’s in the water… The kids in the picture are identical,come on it’s genetics. Probably the people in the village have been marrying within the same sets of families and the gene (“twin gene”) has been circulating.

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