Nobody believes that Lucy and Maria Aylmer, of the United Kingdom, are twins.
They were born in 1997, as the New York Post reported, and the sisters have grown used to getting mistaken for being friends.
“No one ever believes we are twins because I am white and Maria is black,” Lucy told the paper.
“Even when we dress alike, we still don’t even look like sisters, let alone twins.”
One has straight, reddish hair and a fair complexion and the other has darker eyes and skin, according to the NY Post.
“No-one ever believes we are twins because I am white and Maria is black. Even when we dress alike, we still don’t even look like sisters, let alone twins. When we’ve met friends for the first time they never believe we are twins and they have even made us produce our birth certificates to prove that we are actually twins,” Lucy told broadcaster ITV.
After their mother gave birth, she was stunned when the doctors handed the twins over to her.
“It was such a shock for her because obviously things like skin color don’t show up on scans before birth. So she had no idea that we were so different. When the midwife handed us both to her she was just speechless,” Lucy said of her mother’s reaction.
Maria studies law and psychology at Cheltenham College, and Lucy studies art and design at Gloucester College, the Post noted.
“Now we have grown older, even though we still look so different, the bond between us is much stronger. Now we are proud of the fact that we are each other’s twin sister. Maria loves telling people at college that she has a white twin – and I’m very proud of having a black twin,” ITV also quoted Lucy as saying.
The NY Post reported that they were born to a white father and a half-Jamaican mother.
They have three siblings who also have different skin colors, they explained.
“All our older brothers and sisters have a skin color which is in between Maria and I,” Lucy explained. “We are at opposite ends of the spectrum and they are all somewhere in between.”
And she noted that while growing up, people didn’t mistake her and her sister for one another
“We were in the same class at infant school, but no one ever had a problem telling us apart,” she explained of her childhood.
“Most twins look like two peas in a pod — but Maria and I couldn’t look more different if we tried. We don’t even look like we have the same parents, let alone having been born at the same time.”
The reason for the difference in appearance is because the girls aren’t identical twins.
“Those occur when a single sperm fertilizes an egg that subsequently splits into two genetically identical, but separate embryos,” IFLScience explains. “Non-identical, or fraternal, twins, on the other hand, are usually the result of the mother releasing two eggs at the same time, both of which become fertilized by two different sperms. Rather than being genetically identical, these share 50% of their DNA like normal siblings do.”
According to the article, their mother carried genes for both white and dark skin, and “Lucy ended up inheriting the genes for white skin, whereas Maria inherited the genes for black skin.”
Such dramatic genetics are typically unusual, but they’re possible, the website says.
“Most of the time, children will inherit a ‘blend’ of their parents features – as was the case with their siblings. In the twins case, they each happened to inherit incredibly different features. Additionally, many British individuals with Afro-Caribbean heritage are directly descended from white Europeans, which raises the chance of producing offspring with white skin,” it adds.