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poisonedantidote's avatar

What are the chances that my cousin is not my uncle's child?

Asked by poisonedantidote (21611points) January 2nd, 2013

I was just browsing my facebook feed, when I noticed that my cousin who I have not seen in some time has uploaded a new photo of himself, and a thought crossed my mind. I found myself wondering if he is actually my uncles biological child, or if my auntie had a bit of a fling some time in the past.

See, in the photo that my cousin uploaded, you can see that he is losing his hair, as he now has a receding hairline that is very obvious. As far as I know, baldness is hereditary, and all the men in my family have a full head of hair, from myself to my brother all the way back to parents, grandparents, great grandparents and great great grandparents.

On top of this, my cousin is about 5ft 10in tall. For a man in our family, this is actually quite short. Since my great great grandfather, who was some 7ft odd inches, all men in my family have been around the 6ft 6in mark give or take.

Lastly, he does not really look like anyone else in the family. All the men have a similar shaped nose, and similar looking eyes. While my cousin has a much thinner nose, and very different eyes.

So I was wondering, based on this information. Is it likely that my auntie cheated, and that my cousin is not actually my uncles biological child?

Not that it would change anything or that I would ever say anything about it, I am just curious.

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10 Answers

rooeytoo's avatar

Baldness is hereditary but through the maternal grandfather. If his mother’s father was bald or balding then most likely he would be as well regardless of his father’s hair.

I read not too long ago, but can’t remember the source (old age is hell) that an astonishing number of children do not have the father they and the rest of the world assumes they do. So anything is possible. You know what’s good for the goose is good for the gander and sometimes males have this overpowering biological imperative to spread their seed!

zensky's avatar

Fifty fifty.


Shippy's avatar

Our grandparents contribute a large part to our DNA ladders! Some times more of a percentage than the parents. (Generation skipping).

zenvelo's avatar

Hmmm, you don’t say what height the mother is. Height reverts to the mean, so over time the tendency towards being tall gets reduced.

Characteristics do not run by gender, but by the mix. The men in your family who all seem similar may have married women with similar characteristics (“she reminds me of mom”) except for your Uncle.

Here’s an alternative question: perhaps your uncle is similar to brothers of the same mother but has a different father? Know much about grandma during the war?

My last point is to tell you to not go around digging into stuff that others have to deal with. Figure that your aunt and uncle have dealt with it.

filmfann's avatar

@rooeytoo is correct: Baldness traits come from the maternal grandfather.
It might be best just to drop it, since it doesn’t matter.

marinelife's avatar

Male pattern baldness is passed from the maternal side.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

DNA is a huge crapshoot and roulette wheel.

There are three boys in my husband’s family, all close in age. One brother is bald; the other two brothers have full, healthy heads of hair.

wundayatta's avatar

As you know, baldness comes through the mother’s side. What no one has told you so far is that an estimate ten to fifteen percent of children are not the children of the parents listed on the birth certificate. Of course, that means, the listed father is not the genetic father.

I have this data courtesy of my fertility andrologist, who sees an awful lot of genetic tests from men he treats. I would be more specific, but I learned this about 17 years ago, and it’s hard to remember these things precisely. But what I do remember is the number was shockingly high, in my opinion.

Self_Consuming_Cannibal's avatar

Of course it is possible. But if your uncle or aunt has had any of those traits in their family, even a long time ago, it can still “pop out” at any time.

I saw a talk show where two white people had a black child and so naturally the husband accused his wife of cheating, they did an DNA test and the child did belong to both of them. It turns out that a long time ago, one of their ancestors had slept with a black person and had a mixed child. Well that mixed child ended up sleeping with white people and so did their offspring until generations late you could not tell that their was a drop of black blood in their family.

These things can happen and this could be a case of that. I hope you find something out.

Strauss's avatar

There could even be a “secret” adoption. A guy I know did not know until after he was eighteen that his biological parents were completely different people from the parents who railed him.

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