Monday, November 7, 2016

Genetic Lottery For Body Types And The Prior Probability For "Banging a Model"

A recent discussion I had reminded me of the following passage from David Epstein's excellent The Sports Gene:
Big Bang data in hand, Norton and Olds devised a measure they called the bivariate overlap zone (BOZ). It gives the probability that a person randomly selected from the general public has a physique that could possibly fit into a given sport at the elite level. Not surprisingly, as winner-take-all markets have driven the Big Bang of body types, the genes required for any given athletic niche have become more rare, and the BOZ for most sports has decreased profoundly. About 28 percent of men now have the height and weight combination that could fit in with professional soccer players; 23 percent with elite sprinters; 15 percent with professional hockey players; and 9.5 percent with Rugby Union forwards. 
...Particular professions that require unique physiques have an even more concentrated winner-take-all structure and outdo even professional sports. The BOZ for regional catwalk models is less than 8 percent, dropping to 5 percent for international models, and to just 0.5 percent for supermodels.
As always, nowadays when one of your friends brags about "banging a model", you have a prior with which to evaluate that claim, namely at most %8. (I'm happy to help whenever and wherever you need me.)

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