Twins Reunited After 78 Years

Record-breaking separation adds to nature vs. nurture debate
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2014 2:59 AM CDT
Twins Reunited After 78 Years
Renowned expert on twins Dr. Nancy Segal shares a laugh with twin sisters, Liz Hamel, left, of Albany, Oregon and Ann Hunt, of Aldershot, England.   (AP Photo/Orange County Register, Leonard Ortiz)

After nine months together in the womb but a lifetime apart, twins Ann Hunt and Elizabeth Hamel have finally been reunited. The pair—whose reunion after 78 years is a new world record—were born to an unmarried domestic servant in England in 1936 who was going to put both twins up for adoption but decided to keep Elizabeth out of fear that curvature of the spine would make her unadoptable, the BBC finds. Elizabeth learned that she had a twin when she was 15, but didn't know how to find her, while Ann, who moved to the US after marrying an American man, had no idea that she had a twin until her youngest daughter discovered her while researching the family tree.

"How lovely to see you in the flesh," Elizabeth said last week when she embraced her sister for the first time. They met in California, where they took part in a study led by prominent twins researcher Dr. Nancy Segal, reports the New York Daily News. The researcher hopes the twins will be able to shed light on the nature versus nurture debate. "We want to get a comprehensive overview of their lives, their abilities, their interests, and put it all together as an important case study," she says. The sisters have found that they share several mannerisms and characteristics—and both of them married men named Jim. (Click to read about another wild reunion.)

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