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Twins or not? Genetic analysis of putative twins in Antarctic fur seals


Genetic analyses can reliably determine the relationships among putative cases of twins in pinniped species. These studies demonstrate that field observations of nursing twins may often be cases of adoption or foster nursing of unrelated pups. A recent study of Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) on South Georgia Island found that only 3 of 11 putative twin cases were truly twins. Here we report results of genetic testing of eight putative cases of twinning (twin siblings and mother) observed at Cape Shirreff (62°27’30"S,60°47’17"W), Livingston Island, Antarctica.