A reader sent along this NY Times article about the town in Brazil with an unusual concentration of twins. Naturally, it’s a Boys from Brazil type of scenario:
Some researchers have suggested the darker possibility that Josef Mengele, the Nazi physician known as the Angel of Death, was involved. Mengele, residents say, roamed this region of southern Brazil, posing as a veterinarian, in the 1960s, about the time the twins explosion began. In a book published last year, an Argentine journalist, Jorge Camarasa, suggested that Mengele conducted experiments with women here that resulted in the higher rate of twins, many of them with blond hair and light-colored eyes. The experiments, locals said, may have involved new types of drugs and preparations, or even the artificial insemination Mengele claimed to know about, regarding cows and humans.
But neither Mr. Camarasa nor any other adherent of the Mengele theory has been able to prove the escaped Nazi conducted any experiments here. Mengele, who died in Brazil in 1979, was notorious for his often deadly experiments on twins at Auschwitz, ostensibly in an effort to produce a master Aryan race for Hitler.
Because everyone knows that’s where twins come from. Nazi experiments.
The most interesting observation is that the unusual number of twins (10 percent of births from 1990-1994) is accompanied by an unusual fraction of identical twins. However, I’d like to see a simple plot showing all similar-sized towns in Brazil. 10 percent of births across a limited time span is not very exciting if we have thousands of towns and pick out the most extreme value.
Statistics, people. Oh yeah, I suppose the Nazis invented that, too!