Warren Lathe (
Mon, 16 Jan 95 19:42:36 GMT

In <3feamc$> (Daniel A Ashlock) writes:

>In article <3fe9e6$>, writes:
>>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.

> You are counting individual people multiple times. I think your
>incest taboo is way too strong.
>Dan Ashlock

Yes, he is right. I am an avid geneologist. THe further back I go the more
cousins and other relatives I find married to each other. That is true
of most family lines. It wasn't so much a taboo generations ago, in fact
it was encouraged in many families and cultures (though sibling marriage
has been generally taboo through cultures and time). So, in other words,
those lines converge. The numbers don't grow exponentially as you thought.


Warren C. Lathe III
Biology Department
University of Rochester

The juvenile seasquirt wanders through the sea searching for a suitable rock
or coral to cling to and make its home for life. For this task it has a
rudimentary nervous system. When it finds its spot and takes root, it
doesn't need its brain anymore so it eats it.It's rather like getting tenure.