QUINCY, Ill. - Parents Whitney Meyer and her boyfriend Tomas Dean welcomed twins last April in Quincy, Illinois.
All twins are special, but Today.com reported that something makes 9-month-old twins Jarani and Kalani different.
Kalani has white skin and Jarani has darker skin, making her look black. Mom Meyer is white and dad Dean is black. The twins are fraternal, meaning each girl came from two separate fertilized eggs.
"Kalani was as white as can be. I was just in denial, because you know the odds of this?" Meyer told Today. "I would never think I would have a black and white twin. That’s why I asked if she was albino, because she was just so white."
"I was like, ‘Yeah, she’s a little light,' but I thought maybe babies are that way when they’re first born," Dean said. "But then a couple of minutes later, her sister came out a little darker," he said. "In a million years, I never thought I’d have a girl with blue eyes. I didn’t think I could pull that one off!"
Meyer said she dresses the twins alike.
"Nobody believes that they are twins," she said. "I mean, nobody."
Dr. Nancy L. Segal, director of the Twin Studies Center at California State University, told People.com that the Dean twins' unique trait is rare.
"We don’t know how often it happens because not all cases come to our attention," Segal said. "I imagine it’s going to happen more frequently now that we have more mixed (race) marriages. It could be one child inherits certain genes from both parents, and the other child inherits sets of genes from the other parent. And that explains the different skin tones.
"It’s just like how ordinary fraternal twins can look completely different from each other. They just inherit different sets of genes -- one child gets the lighter ones, the other’s darker."
Meyer's son, Talan, 7, has a different father and is white. Meyer said her son "doesn’t see any difference in the girls" and is "the best big brother."
Another son, Pravyn, died at 2 years old when he drowned in a babysitter's pool two years ago.
Meyer has been posting photos of the twins since they were born and has mostly received positive feedback.
"In this family, we don’t see color," Meyer said. "Love is love."