We’ve all done a double take when mistaking a random person on the street for someone we know , or maybe like the celebrity look-alikes, but does everyone have a doppelganger? There’s a fairly decent chance of it, actually, thanks to the limited number of genes that influence facial features. “There is only so much genetic diversity to go around,” said Michael Sheehan, an assistant professor of neurobiology and behavior at Cornell University, who actively studies appearance variations and genetics in species such as paper wasps and house mice and various types of apes . “If you shuffle that deck of cards so many times, at some point, you get the same hand dealt to you”
But if you start doing some maths, you can get interesting results. There are 7 billion of us. About half are male (like me) so that’s 3.5 billion. I’m nearly 42, so to look like me, you’d need to be between 35 and 45 – lets say that cuts in down to a billion. I’m Ethiopian which takes it down to (rough guess) 250 million. Lets say there are 100 nose shapes and 100 mouths. We’re down to 25,000. Fifty hair shades? 5,000. Oh, ears! Now we’re down to 500. Eye colour – let’s say 50.
So at a quick estimate, there are 50 people my gender and skin tone and have the same shaped nose, mouth and ears and hair colour. Our eyes are close enough in colour to pass casual inspection, so that would be at least 7 people could look almost exactly like me.
Here are some incredible famous American-Ethiopian look alikes.
American actor Morgan freeman and Ethiopian actor Fantu Mandoye.
Italian footballer Giorgio Chiellini and Ethiopian footballer Adane Ghirma
American singer Beyonce Knowles and Ethiopian singer Helen Berhe
Photo credits: Daniel Vandroos