Laurent Hodges (
22 Jan 1995 04:55:08 GMT

In article <3fe9e6$>, <> wrote:
>How can we possibly have more ancestors in a coexisting generation than
>the total known population of the earth?
>I know for a fact that I have a mother and a father who each has a mother
>and a father, etc... The direct ancestral chart would look like so:
>Generation Population
>1 2 (Mother and father)
>2 4 (grandparents)
>3 8 (greatgrandparents)....
>20 1,048,576
>30 1,073,741,841
>Going backwards it does not take too long to run into a problem.
>What am I missing? Please email your response to me. Thanks
>Art Decker

Shades of Poor Richard! Benjamin Franklin wrote a very funny piece on
this in one of his Poor Richard's Almanacks. His serious conclusion was
that people of speak of their "pure blood" are blathering idiots.

Laurent Hodges, Professor of Physics
12 Physics Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011-3160
(515) 294-1185 (office) 294-6027 (fax)