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Portraits of identical twins side by side for comparison [14 pictures]

Apr 2, 2013 By Abraham

Selections from Martin Schoeller’s book Identical: Portraits of Twins


  1. Gods Child says:

    Question: The ones with glasses or beards… do they wear it like that in their everyday life or was it just for the picture?

    But apart from that thought, it’s amazing to see how much alike they all are! Especially with the guys in the green shirt or the elderly women. It’s incredible how they gain weight or their face changes in the same way when they get older!

  2. Ann says:

    Fascinating photos. The last photo was close to impossible to tell them apart. I could only see each of them had a freckle in a different place.

  3. Mary says:

    Off topic but similar: Another interesting thing to do is compare one side of someone’s face with the other side. Most faces aren’t symmetrical; if you create a face by comparing the mirror image of one half your face with the other, you will be amazed at the difference.

    1. Mudhooks says:

      Reversing a photo is often interesting, too. It find it interesting when magazine articles on a particular celebrity posts a reversed photo without noticing that doing so renders the celebrity unrecognizable.

  4. Carl says:

    For anyone who thinks they are ‘not so identical after all’, they are identical at birth. How a person treats their body and other environmental factors would vary the looks of two ‘identical’ twins. I would think that younger twins would be harder to tell apart. – Just my unscientific guess anyway.

        1. ducati4323 says:

          Eric is correct. They aren’t always identical at birth. Environmental changes can occur while still in the womb. My boys have never been the same weight/height (even at birth) and one even has lighter eyes than the other. One of my boys had extensive health problems in utero and during the first few months of his life. Genetically, they are identical, but by appearance, they are very different (to me, at least!)

  5. Silverenity says:

    What would be even more creepier is having two people wo arent twins but look almost alike have their pictures side by side.

  6. bob says:

    Took me a while, but after closer inspection, each picture on the left they had the subject tilt their head backwards by a few degrees, on the right they are face on, this is why they “appear” to not be symmetric. We did this in art class in college with twins, just by changing the angle of the photo you can make otherwise identical peoples appear different.

    Not news, did this 25 years ago in college.

    1. Nicole says:

      That must be what it is! All the people on the left, their chin looks larger but it makes sense if their heads are titled a bit back to gain an understanding on perspective.

  7. Anita says:

    My identical twin daughters look completely different. One has curlier hair than the other, the noses are different, their mouths are different, as well as their eyes and skin tone. One was diagnosed in utero with a congenital defect while the other is completely healthy. At birth, one was 4 lb 11 oz and the other was 4 lb 5 oz. After being discharged from the NICU at 6 months, it took a while for her to catch up with her sister physically and developmentally, but at almost 3 years of age now, they are on par. However, they still look completely different. People tend to assume they’re fraternal twins when they first meet them. As well, their voices are very different. I read about how an egg does not necessarily split equally and how one twin can have more of a mother’s mitochondrial DNA than the other. Whatever the case, no matter how identical twins can look, they are inherently two completely different indivuals!

  8. Shelly says:

    My sons are fraternal twins and almost everyone asks me, “Are they identical? How can you tell them apart?” At 7 months old (today) they look completely different from each other.

  9. Mudhooks says:

    “Identical twins” are genetically identical. They may vary slightly in appearance, depending on environmental factors and growth patterns.

    From Twin.com

    “Identical twins are the result of a single fertilized egg splitting into two separate embryos. The two embryos can share a single placenta and can be in the same or different sac. Since identical twins come from the same fertilized egg, they have the exact same DNA. They are always of the same sex and they have the same blood type. Testing the DNA of twins is one way to determine if they are identical or fraternal.

    Even though identical twins have the same DNA, it can be expressed in different ways. The environment that the twins are exposed to (in the womb or out of the womb) determine fine physical characteristics. As a result, identical twins usually have different fingerprints. Also, as identical twins get older, more differences generally develop.

    The chances of having twins that are identical are approximately 1 in 250 or 0.4%. It is unknown as to why a fertilized egg splits to form identical twins. Identical twins do not run in families and there is no way to increase the probability of having them.”

    “How Monozygotic Twins are Formed
    Monozygotic (identical) twins form when one sperm fertilizes one egg. The fertilized egg then splits later on. Depending on when the fertilized egg splits, you can have either different sacs (dichorinic/diamniotic), the same outer sac and two inner sacs (monochorionic/diamniotic), or they are within the same 2 sacs (monochorionic/monoamniotic).

    Split Before 3-4 days After Fertilization: When the fertilized egg divides before 3-4 days after fertilizatiion then the twins are dichorionic/diamniotic. That is the membrane configuration as if the twins were dizygotic except that monozygotic twins have the same genetic composition (DNA), while dizygotic twins share only 50% of DNA.
    Split beetween 3-8 days after fertilization: The cells divide at between 3 and 8 days and they are monochorionic/diamniotic.
    Split beetween 8-13 days after fertilization: The cells divide around between 8 and 13 days are are in one sac monochorionic/monoamniotic (dangerous because cords can become tangled).
    Split after 13 days after fertilization: If the division happens after day 13, they are all in the same sacs and conjoined twins happen.”


    1. ducati4323 says:

      “As a result, identical twins usually have different fingerprints.”

      Identical twins ALWAYS have different fingerprints. Your fingerprints are formed in utero by the amniotic fluid. No one on earth has the same fingerprints, twins or not.

  10. Zoe says:

    These don’t look like actual pics to me. They all look more like those art projects you’ve been posting- the extremely realistic portraits.

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