Ignore the Ad Blitz: Brazilian Twins Have Nothing to Do With Nazi Doc

By Brett Israel | December 3, 2009 6:19 pm

mengeleLegend has it that escaped Nazi war criminal and SS physician, Joseph Mengele, fled to Brazil where he carried out his experiments on twins, hoping to unlock the secret to engineering a blonde-haired, blue-eyed master race. Apparently National Geographic Explorer wants you to think he succeeded–at least according to the ad for its new show Nazi Mystery: Twins from Brazil:

Deep in the Brazilian outback in a tiny town among the 80 households in a one-square-mile area are reportedly some 38 pairs of twins. Blond, blue-eyed twins. Bizarre and inexplicable, could they be the product of Mengele’s machinations? Now, with exclusive access, EXPLORER goes inside the investigation; From the secret agents who trailed him, to the scientists now uncovering the facts behind the fantastical phenomenon, no stone is left unturned.

While they don’t come out and say it, the ad seems like an attempt to lure readers into their show with the promise of some new dirt on Mengele’s experiments. This all seems odd, since National Geographic News ran a story a week ago about how Mengele had nothing to do with the twins in Brazil.

Researcher say many inhabitants of Cândido Godói have fair skin because they’re descendants of German immigrants. However, the town’s twin boom predates Mengele’s arrival, and continues to this day, so it couldn’t have anything to do with him. While they don’t know the exact biological basis, researchers think the twinning is the result of the founder effect, according to National Geographic News:

If a small group settles a region and the settlement remains isolated for generations, the original settlers’ biological quirks tend to be passed down as the same families intermarry over and over…

So if something in the founder’s genes predisposed them to having twins, that could explain for the booming twin rate. Hopefully for National Geographic, their TV viewers aren’t the same as their web readers.

Related Content:
Discoblog: Worst Science Article of the Week: The “Dark Side” of Darwin
Discoblog: Woman Gets Pregnant…While Already Pregnant
Discoblog: We’re All a Bunch of Genetic Mutants, Research Finds

Image: Wikimedia

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Crime & Punishment, Sex & Mating
MORE ABOUT: crime, eugenics
  • man from uncle

    “However, the town’s twin boom predates Mengele’s arrival, and continues to this day, so it couldn’t have anything to do with him.”

    We have the information and facts about Mengele, but are we suppose to believe you when you show nothing to support the statement quoted above? Should we just take your word for it, that this phenomenon “predates Mengele”?

    I tend to think that you are a bit envious of National Geographic and if you can’t produce facts regarding your statement, it seems you are manipulating the truth.
    Thanks
    Cheers.

  • dina little

    Dr. Mengala would be hailed as a hero and pioneer in todays culture where someone like ‘St.’ George Tillman is hailed as a martyr. I don’t even see the relevance or point of such a story anyway; Idle curiosity? Because really, most publicly educated young people who have been raised in this society of disposable people, disposable babies, wouldn’t even blink an eyelash at what he did (he developed most of the abortion techniques still used today BTW). They would wonder why the big deal. In fact, many think the Nazi’s just shouldn’t have focused so strongly on Jews, but think their premise of getting rid of useless eaters and genetically inferior individuals as valid.

    Don’t think so? As someone who’s career has me travel from place to place, I hear a great deal, and You should go eves drop on some conversations and even lectures at most public universities now. It would, if half our society still had a conscience, chill your blood.

    dina little

  • http://MSN G. Misko

    For dina little..that is George Tiller, I presume?

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Discoblog

Quirky, funny, and surprising science news from the edge of the known universe.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »