The birth of twins has always fascinated us. Aren’t we excited when twins are born into our familiar groups? Being in contact with twins increases our curiosity about the way they came to be.
At times, we speculate: What if an individual’s replica exists in some part of the world? Setting aside individual speculations, consider what if an entire place is known as “the land of twins”? Isn’t a mere thought about it shocking!
History has identified the Kodinhi village as the twin's capital of the world. While genetics, age, race, height, weight, previous pregnancies, and assisted reproduction are a few of the factors contributing to the existence of twins in the village of Kodinhi, science still can’t unveil the exact causes behind the massive number of twins.
A glimpse into the history
Kodinhi, often called “God’s Twins Land” is a small village in the Mallapuram district in Kerala, India. Situated in the proximity of the town of Tirurangadi, backwaters surround the village from all sides. The shore of these backwaters imbues a green hue on the surrounding landscape and is home to many flora and fauna.
As per the records, the village is home to around two thousand families, but the striking thing is that there are at least four hundred pairs of twins among them! In this village, there are twins of every age, with the town holding many Guinness World Records.
The village has been in the limelight for its twin phenomenon for quite some time now. Twins have been walking the village alleys for the past three generations, with the oldest pair born in 1949.
While the average rate of twin births in India is no higher than nine per thousand births, in Kodinhi, it is as high as forty-five per thousand births. This rate is estimated to be the highest in the world. Additionally, in the past few years, the number of twins in Kodinhi has shot up. Presently, there are as many as seventy-nine pairs of twins in the age group of zero to ten years. Apparently, with every passing year, it is expected to break its previous records.
Apart from Kodinhi, the twin phenomenon has also occurred in the town of Igbo-Oro in Nigeria. The researchers suggest that women’s dietary preferences in Igbo-Oro have contributed to the surprising amount of twin births.
However, in Kodinhi, no scientific conclusion has been reached as to the cause of its high twin birth rate.
The beginning of the twins' mystery
After their newfound fame as the mysterious village of twins, the inhabitants of Kodinhi also became eager to know the cause of the abundance of twins. The curiosity of the villagers grew until they found the twin sister's case in the year 2006. They went ahead, aiming to identify the pattern of the high occurrence of twin births in the village with twin sisters' help.
According to the sources, the twin sisters’ conducted a mini-survey as part of their class assignments. The survey was to ascertain the number of twins present in their school. As per their findings, there were twenty-four pairs of twins studying in the school at that time.
Thus, this mini-survey marked the beginning of Kodinhi’s discovery as the “Land of Twins.” Later, the news of the twin sister's discovery spread like wildfire among the villagers, and they started taking notice of the twin patterns.
With the timely discovery of an increasing number of twins, the village residents concluded that their village is significantly and mysteriously unique.
The town is also the birthplace of an organization named the Twins and Kins Association (TAKA). This organization aims to extend help, support the villagers, and educate those giving birth to twins.
What does the research say?
In October 2016, a joint team of researchers from various national and international institutes like the University of London and Germany visited Kodinhi village to resolve the twins’ mystery.
The researchers collected hair and saliva samples from the twins to study their DNA. They also carried out a similar study in Igbo-Ora in Nigeria, Hung Ioc commune in Hung Hiepfrom, South Vietnam, and Candido Godoi in Brazil, where the number of twin birth rates is high. Their investigation aimed to compare Kodinhi’s residents’ genetic factors to that of its other comparable communities.
According to Dr.Thirumalaswami Velavan of Tuebingen University, said about the research:
“It would identify genetic factors determining the hereditability of twins. There is no known genetic link identified yet for identical twinning and the real factor behind the phenomenon is yet to be ascertained.
The outcome of the study shall lay a basis to understand the underlying genetic and epigenetic factors that may hold key answers for the high twinning rate in Kodinhi.”
The genetic, hereditary, biological, molecular, and climatic factors of the rare phenomena are the research group’s subject matter. However, there are only speculations revolving around the twin phenomenon of Kodinhi. Baffled doctors are also putting their utmost efforts into learning about how and why this phenomenon originated.
Some say it might be due to genetics, few say it’s hereditary, others wonder that it might be due to environmental factors like the presence of a particular air or water element which might have led to twins abundance. Yet, the logic concluded as dead-ends with no absolute answers.
Although multiple associations are actively involved in studying the mystery behind twin's land, nothing has been proven scientifically about its occurrence.
Some places in the world are well-defined by science and its shreds of evidence, giving the site its identity or resolving its conspiracy theories.
Kodinhi stands unique. There is some hidden, mysterious yet powerful force behind its higher number of twins, which lately remains unanswered by science.
History, at times, is beyond explanation. What better secret to unveil than the history and mystery of the beautiful Kodinhi hamlet where the twins' phenomenon stands secretively exceptional.
Rightly said in the words of Richard Branson:
“Sometimes miracles come in pairs.”
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