The Bluffer's Briefing: Multiple Births

Biggest human: Decaplets - 2 males and 8 females - were reported in Bacacay, Brazil in April 1946. The only certain nonuplets were born to Geraldine Broderick in Sydney, Australia on 13 June 1971.

Multiple Multiple Birthings: A peasant from Shuya 150 miles from Moscow, the first wife of Feodor Vassileyev (b 1707) gave birth to 69 children in 27 confinements: 16 pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets and four sets of quadruplets.

Longest Interval: Diana Petrungaro was born on 22 December 1987. Her twin sister Monica was born 36 days later on 27 January 1988.

Shortest Interval: Bradley, Christopher and Carmon were born naturally to Mrs James E Duck of Memphis, Tennessee in 2 minutes in March 1977.

Heavyweight Record: 26lb 6oz in an Iranian case of 2 males and one female in 1968.

Growing old gracefully: The Guinness Book of Records estimates that the chances of identical twins both reaching 100 are now probably about one in 50 million.

Fast Breeder: The female meadow vole (Microtus agrestis) can reproduce from the age of 25 days and have up to 17 litters of 6-8 young in a year.

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