Does everybody have an identical twin out there?

Perhaps not in the literal sense but in a practical one? With the sheer number of people in the world, there are bound to be people who look quite a like perhaps to the extent that they could pass for identical twins?

Just mathematically with 7 billion people in the world is that not a strong possibility for most people that they have an almost exact same version of themselves out there?

None that I’m aware of as biologically related. I have seen a few photos of people that I think I look like, but the age differences would be a catch.

Do clones count? :slight_smile:

It’s probably going to be a bell curve thing - for most people, there will be one or many similar-looking others (depending on how precisely you want to define similarity) - for some, there will be fewer lookalikes, and for a smaller number of people, there will be one, or none.

Given that any third rate celebrity has a dozen lookalikes in a given country, some of them strikingly similar in appearance, I woul assume it holds true for everybody. Especially if you could check everybody (not just the small number of people interested in a lookalike “career”) , and not just in the country where the person is famous.

ditto what ** Mangetout ** said. It will depend on how similar you want the twins to be. Somewhere in Europe there might be someone whose face looks very much like mine, but is a foot taller, 20 years younger, and the list of illnesses that he’s genetically susceptible to is totally different than mine.

Back in the 90s there used to be a guy, also arty and nerdy like me, who people that didn’t know me thought was me until they got up close or talked to him. Though I never got the reverse happen to me.

I also thought a friend’s girlfriend looked a lot like someone I went to school with.

Odds are good that most people will not only have a lookalike somewhere in the world, but rather frequently seem to have one living nearby to each other.

Yea, if you are closer to a standard height and weight, you will have more options to choose from. For someone like my wife who is probably in the 1% in height for white women, there won’t be many look-alikes.

I think the celebrity angle makes it clear that it doesn’t hold true for everyone - for example, is there a lookalike for this guy?

Might be, but if he isn’t famous (at least past the local level) you’d never know it. There’s plenty of celebrity look-a-likes that you’ve never seen.

Well, most are immediately eliminated for gender or race. For example, I doubt there’s an east Asian guy, Indian guy or a sub-Saharan African guy (in genetics, not immigration) who looks like me. I’d hazard that you’re down to under a billion just in your general ballpark before you even start getting into hair, eyes, facial features, build and the rest of it.

Another way of considering this issue is to estimate the ratio of “good hits” that the artists working for Law Enforcement achieve with their sketches based on descriptions provided by witnesses. I have seen some sketches so ambiguous that they could be of just about anybody. And yet the arrests keep coming in for those folks and convictions to boot.

Just visit any of the “most wanted” websites ( such as this one ) and see how many of those people look like somebody you know or some “celebrity” you’ve seen pictures of.

There’s a guy that shops at my store that looks like a ‘white Kanye West’. Do you count that? There’s plenty of times I’ve seen someone that looks a like an Asian ____" or a “Black _____”. But, based on the OP, that might be stretching it.

Just to make it explicit, it depends on how loose you want to be with your definition of “identical”. If you’re talking exact genetic duplicate, a la “real” identical twins, then the chance is essentially nil. If you want someone who could pass as you in bad light, large sunglasses, and a hoodie, then it wouldn’t be too hard. In between is a very large spectrum.

Some time back, I was puzzled why my aunt had a graduation picture of me on her wall… Until I looked closer, and realized that the other person in the picture was her son, and the guy who looked like me was handing him the diploma, not the other way around. So apparently there’s a dean or something at my cousin’s college who looks an awful lot like me.

Life experience has a huge impact on people’s appearance, more and more so as they age. Nutrition, climate, exercise, chemical exposure… and then there is the startling difference that grooming can have on a person’s appearance. If there was a way to strip people down to just bone structure and coloring I bet there would be a lot of similarities. It’s more complicated than that though.

I have a Doppelganger. His name is Raif and he works in the same industry as I do, concert production. We have never met but on dozens of occasions I have had people mistake myself for him until they were face to face with me. Apparently we are almost identical twins.

Personal anecdote but really weird.


When I was about 15, someone noted that I looked exactly like the kid in one of Norman Rockwell’s paintings. The resemblance was identical… Considering Rockwell typically painted from photos of models, I guess I did have a match, only much much older.

But then, I’ve seen a sequence of photos of someone where I thought “Is that really the same person?” - once expression and pose change, or lighting, it’s amazing how much the look can change. The same applies to the historical dramas put out by Hollywood. It’s amazing how a little hairstyle and makeup can make someone look a lot like the historical chaacter they’re playing, even though the real resemblance is very superficial.

As for identical twins - I had trouble telling my two nephews apart when they were younger, but now they’re adults it’s not so difficult. OTOH, there’s “acquaintance” reemblance and there’s close friend or family member resemblance.

Are you asking for a look-alike to fool people who see them occasionally or all the time?

I ran into mine almost 20 years ago. My wife and I were on vacation in Ireland with two other couples, driving the “Ring of Kerry” road in the southwest corner of the island. We’d stopped for a restroom break at a little resort on the seashore.

As several of us were standing around, waiting for those who were taking longer in the restroom, this man walked by, with his four daughters walking behind him, single file (reminiscent of the opening credits to The Partridge Family). He could have been my twin, and he and I realized it as he walked by, and we both just stared at each other, mouths agape

My friend Karen was standing beside me, and elbowed me after he walked past. “He looked just like you!” “Yeah, and if I’d stayed Catholic, got married at age 19, and didn’t believe in birth control, that could have been me.” :slight_smile:

His lookalike would have to be 7 foot 6 tall - he’d stand out a bit.

It’s unlikely that every living human has a doppelganger. What would be the reason for that? If it were so, there could not be a tallest, shortest or anything-est person. All of the world records for anything-est people would be jointly occupied. It’s a daft notion.