Freshly Baked Science

baby looking in the mirror at itself laughing and smiling at reflection in baby grow yellow black and white with colour

Seeing Double

17th June 2018

We all know that twins exist. Some look creepily alike and spend their lives telling people ‘which one’ they are, while others look less alike than most siblings! But what about people who aren’t related and have never met… how is it possible for them to look that same? The simple answer is DOPPELGANGERS. Doppelganger simply means a non-biological (or unrelated) look-alike. 


If we looked at a thousand different pigeons, apart from the odd one or two with one leg or a dodgy wing, we would never be able to tell them apart. But when we look at humans, we are nearly all completely different. So how do we get unrelated people looking the same?


Our features are controlled by our genes and although we have many different sizes, shapes and colours of each of our features, humans aren’t that genetically different. This means that very occasionally, all the features which someone else has will randomly combine again, resulting in a person who looks very similar to another person. 


This is easier to imagine if you think about a bag of coloured beads. Let’s say you have 20 different coloured beads and you pick out 5 each time. There are over 15,000 different combinations you could possibly pick, yet there is still a small chance you will pick the exact same combination twice! 


But it’s not just down to looks!


Although it’s possible for someone unrelated to look very similar to someone else, our brains also play a part in the process. Our brains are a bit like computers, however, everyone’s brain will read faces differently. Some people may ‘read’ a face as eyes-nose-mouth, while others may ‘read’ it as nose-mouth-eyes. This means that we all see each other differently, leading some people to see similarities between two people, while others may not see it!


Take a look at our Brains in Fashion section to see how similar the voices of Disney Princesses are to the characters they play!


Have you ever seen your own Doppelganger? Tweet us a picture @magazinewonk, with the hashtag #mydoppelganger.

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