Cancer cells co-cultured in vitro reveal unexpected differential growth rates that classical exponential growth models cannot account for. Two non-interacting cell lines were grown in the same culture, and counts of each species were recorded at periodic times. The relative growth of population ratios was found to depend on the initial proportion, in contradiction with the traditional exponential growth model. The proposed explanation is the variability of growth rates for clones inside the same cell line. This leads to a log-quadratic growth model that provides both a theoretical explanation to the phenomenon that was observed, and a better fit to our growth data.