Francis Galton was a 19th century academic who had a rather jaundiced view of the general public - he tended to think they weren't very intelligent! In order to prove his point, he went to a county fair. Here, there was a competition to try and guess the weight of a dressed cow - by "dressed" I mean the meat left after butchering.
Eight hundred people guessed. Mr Galton then had a look at the results. No one got the correct weight. This supported his idea that the general public wasn't terribly bright. He then thought, what would happen if I take an average of the crowd's guesses? The correct answer for the cow's weight was 1,198 lbs, the crowd's guess was one pound out at 1,197 lbs!
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