Two astute readers (colacarat and search4m0re) made the suggestion that I put a picture of Trig from Frank Bailey's book into my lineup showing Trig's ears. So let's do that. Here are the three original pictures we will use: first, the ruffled ear baby from the Kristan Cole party in May 2008:
Next, the Bailey book picture of Trig later in May, which is the "missing link" photo:
Finally, Willow holding Trig in November 2008 at the vice presidential candidates debate:
Now here are the ears from those three photos, all rotated to a similar upright position:
With the first two pictures, the top halves of the ears make the case they are the same: there is an unusual double notch in the rear, plus each ear displays the same odd shape in the top half of the helix, which looks like four distinct planes joined together. With the second and the third pictures, it's the bottom halves of the ears that make the case: the very distinctive central shape, almost like a leaning heart, plus the batwing shape below that. (Note the two photos were shot are at very different angles – one much more from the front – resulting in perspective-related differences in those shapes from one photo to the next.)
Let me also direct your attention to the very bottom of the ear in each photo. In the first photo you can just make out a piece of skin curling over the edge of the blanket, but it looks floppy and elongated. In the second picture, you can see how the skin has been shaped to look almost normal, although it comes to a point. In the third picture, Trig's shirt partially obscures the ear lobe, but you can make out enough to see the similarity to the lobe in the second picture.
The progression from the first picture to the second picture probably happened within two weeks. If begun early in infancy, good results in reconstructing malformed ears can be achieved in less than a month. And in fact, infancy is absolutely the best time to do it.
One of the leading technologies being used for ear reconstruction, the Earwell Infant Ear Correction System, is described here, in case you’d like to read about it: http://www.thebeautyofknowledge.com/non-invasive/earwell-infant-ear-correction-system/
Good results have also been achieved with Ear Buddies splints: http://www.earreconstruction.co.uk/aesthetic-surgery.php
There are plastic surgeons in the United States who advertise that they will use these products in reconstructing the ears of neonates.
I'm sure some people will disagree, but I'm over 99 percent sure that's the same ear. The the similarities simply cannot be due to chance.