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Separated at birth: The extraordinary true story of estranged identical twins who lived the same life.

In 1940, a pair of identical twin brothers were separated at birth and put up for adoption. At three weeks, their respective adoptive parents called their new sons ‘James’, or Jim for short.

They didn’t know of each other, but growing up they lived a mere 40 miles from each other.

Jim Lewis had a brother, Larry, and a dog called Toy. As a student, Jim Lewis enjoyed mathematics and woodwork, but had a strong dislike for spelling.  He eventually married a woman named Linda, however they divorced after a number of years together. Jim Lewis then married his second wife, Betty. They had a son, called James Alan. Jim Lewis was a chain smoker, suffered from migraines and drove a Chevrolet. He worked as a security guard.

Jim Springer had a brother, Larry, and a dog called Toy. As a student, Jim Springer enjoyed mathematics and woodwork, but had a strong dislike for spelling.  He eventually married a woman named Linda, however they divorced after a number of years together. Jim Springer then married his second wife, Betty. They had a son, called James Allan. Jim Springer was a chain smoker, suffered from migraines and drove a Chevrolet. Springer worked as a deputy sheriff.

It sounds almost made up – so extraordinary are the circumstances. Their lives co-existed in parallel lines of one another.

Jim Lewis was aware he had been separated from his twin brother, but Jim Springer’s mother had told him his twin had died at birth.

In 1979, at the age of 39 years old, their paths finally crossed for the first time after Jim Lewis discovered the contact details of his identical twin. It didn’t take long for the similarities in their life stories to unravel.

Watch: The Jim twins interviewed in 1979. Post continues after video. 

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Jim Springer said he had “always felt an emptiness,” until he was reunited with his identical twin.

Their story of unbelievable resemblances became a fascinating case for scientists, who studied the twins as they examined ‘nature versus nurture’.

The twins were participants in a study conducted by Dr. Thomas Bouchard of University of Minnesota, and completed tests on personality, medical history and brain-waves. When asked to draw a picture, they drew the same thing. The identical twins’ scores were remarkably similar for all three tests.

It was as though the same person was taking the same test, twice.

Dr. Bouchard said he was left “flabbergasted” by the twins’ results.

Evidently, the scientists discovered, genetics plays a salient role in a person – a more prominent role than they initially thought.

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