People Who Look Like Their Dogs

Illustrating the science
(NBC)

This morning, The Atlantic magazine associate editor Sarah Yager appeared on NBC's Today to help Matt Lauer and company contextualize an enduring mystery: why people sometimes resemble their dogs. It seems to happen both in appearance and disposition. Yager looked at several academic studies on the topic in this month's magazine as part of the short recurring feature "Study of Studies," in which we compare offbeat research that might be surprising either in its findings or methods, or simply in the fact that it exists. This month: "Why You Look Like Your Dog."

To illustrate the segment, the Today crew scoured this good nation to find people who look like their dogs. Those most dog-like traveled to Rockefeller Center, paraded around on camera, and were made to smile into it for awkwardly too long.

Because this is America and everything is a competition, this was also a competition. David Frei, co-host of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, oversaw the procession and chose a winner (incorrectly; the strongest resemblance is actually James from California with his miniature schnauzer and their matching mustaches). Here is the video.

The segment is reminiscent of a 1992 episode of The Simpsons, in which a daytime-TV show profiled "People Who Look Like Things":

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION]
[IMAGE DESCRIPTION]
[IMAGE DESCRIPTION]
[IMAGE DESCRIPTION]
[IMAGE DESCRIPTION]
(The Simpsons / Fox / McGarnagle.com)

Unlike the dog segment, these men teach us little about the obesity epidemic, but there's probably something in there about self image. "All we ask," said the pumpkin-headed man, "is to be treated with dignity and respect."

Next month: Why We're All Starting to Look Like Our Smartphones.

Read Yager's Study of Studies in the magazine or online here.

Presented by

James Hamblin, MD, is a senior editor at The Atlantic. He writes the health column for the monthly magazine and hosts the video series If Our Bodies Could Talk.

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

More in Health

Just In