The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: How similar-looking are we and our ancestors?  (Read 6430 times)

Offline engrByDayPianstByNight

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 105
    • View Profile
How similar-looking are we and our ancestors?
« on: 18/07/2007 03:02:01 »
Hi,

  Often times in mystery/horror novels, a murder is committed at some banquet/reunion in a century-old house. One of the suspects turns out to be related to the original owner of the house, and this is discovered only after someone notices the striking resemblance between the guy and a portrait hanging on the wall.

   My questions is as follows. Is this pure fiction or there is some truth in it? Can someone who's, say, five generations down, really look amazingly like his/her direct ancestor? Wouldn't the mix of different genes through all these generations have diluted much of the resemblance?

   Thanks.


 

Offline Karen W.

  • Moderator
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *****
  • Posts: 31653
  • Thanked: 5 times
  • "come fly with me"
    • View Profile
How similar-looking are we and our ancestors?
« Reply #1 on: 18/07/2007 03:51:56 »
That is funny your question lands in my lap so to speak! Welcome to the forum Glad you are participating!

I have a black and white picture around here of my brother when he was 2 ish, who is about 51 years old now. I had my last son born to me in 1988. when he was two I have a picture of him also. I never thought about the two together until one day I was sorting out my moms old pictures for family, and came across this picture of my brother Tim... I laughed and said who put a picture of Nathan in this old box. I slung it into another pile.. Then when I went to looking through my pictures I picked it up again and low and behold I thought I don't remember taking that picture of Nathan. LOL That is when I turned the picture over to see if it was dated .. it was it said Timothy lane age two and 1/2.. I almost had a heart attack I stared at that picture forever and to this day I cannot tell the difference between my brother at that age or my son at that age.. But I can tell you he still does resemble my brother but also his dad.. so the family traits are stronger at the two year mark then they are now.. but it was so uncanny it really knocked me off guard. unnerving the likeness.. I would have to see them in front of me moving to know the difference. I haven't seen my brother for about 1993 august or sept.  It is amazing and I have heard many other stories recounted that verify the same thing.. I don't know the genetic terms or why, but I know thee is some validity to it! Maybe some one will be so kind as to explain this wondrous phenomenom.
 

Offline kdlynn

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2851
    • View Profile
How similar-looking are we and our ancestors?
« Reply #2 on: 18/07/2007 04:45:17 »
i look like my grandma... who looked like her mom, who looked like her aunt. the only difference in all of us is slightly different eye shape, but our pictures could also be interchangeable
 

another_someone

  • Guest
How similar-looking are we and our ancestors?
« Reply #3 on: 18/07/2007 04:47:55 »
I had heard long ago, and I cannot say how accurate it is, that babies look more like their mother (this was suggested that it was a trick that nature plays so that the man who believes he is the father of the child cannot readily know if he is mistaken), but grow more like their fathers and they get older.  Thus, it may be that at 21/2 years of age, neither Nathan nor Tim had much paternal input into their appearance, and so they could have greater common matrilinear influence in their appearance.

There certainly are family traits that are recognisable down the generations (although it may skip generations, and appear again in later generations), but that does not mean that people will look the same (even differences in diet and social environment and posture will cause differences to appear).
 

Offline kdlynn

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2851
    • View Profile
How similar-looking are we and our ancestors?
« Reply #4 on: 18/07/2007 04:52:55 »
yes... my mom doesn't look quite like the rest of us so it certainly skipped a generation in our family
 

Offline engrByDayPianstByNight

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 105
    • View Profile
How similar-looking are we and our ancestors?
« Reply #5 on: 18/07/2007 05:26:08 »
Thanks for the quick replies as indeed this was the first time I posted a question on this forum (I've been listening to the NS podcast for a couple of months now).

I also remember about 9 years ago I went to visit my dad's buddy from their college days, and they hadn't seen each other for a long time. I showed him some pictures of me that I took on my recent travels. When he saw those pictures he thought he was looking at my dad and even marveled at how Richard seemed hardly aged all those years. I had to clarify that it was me in the photos, not my dad, and it still took him a while to believe me.

So we can be fairly certain that there's some recognizable resemblance for up to three generations. Does anybody have an example of a larger span of generations (like some historical figure with a known history of generational resemblance)? Also, hypothetically, what genetic conditions must be satisfied in order to preserve at least recognizable facial resemblance across say 5 generations?
 

Offline dkv

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 299
    • View Profile
How similar-looking are we and our ancestors?
« Reply #6 on: 19/09/2007 09:56:07 »
I do not think two people exactly look alike.But if the family was once particularly social or managed better strategy towards sustainable pleasure.Then it is possible that same configuration might pop up with greater likelyhood. As I said evolution (and related processes) move towards sustainable pleasure.:-)
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

How similar-looking are we and our ancestors?
« Reply #6 on: 19/09/2007 09:56:07 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums