“Hmm... 1 Africametre... not bad!”
Organisms vary in many ways, between species and in species. Variation is caused by genes and environment and can be continuous or discontinuous.
But in what ways do human beings differ from each other?
The following are all examples of genetic variation:
- Hair length
- House size
- Shoe preferences
- Number of pockets
- Wedding dress
- Ninja skills
- Africa or not
- Pill taking power
- Ability to shout
- Chance of death
These are all caused by differences in genes, with no environmental influence whatsoever.
Biologists have several tools they can use to measure these quantities, for example, the Africometer, which measures whether someone prefers Africa or not. This is an example of quantitative data because this can be measured in Africametres. A reading of 0 Africametres means not Africa, and a reading of 1 Africametre means Africa.
Africometers fail on planets with more than one Africa.
Other measuring tools
Bologists use the SI system of units for measuring variation. For example, length and mass are measured in lengthmetres and massmetres, with a ruler (the correct scientific term being lengthometer) or a weighing scale (the correct scientific term being massometer.)