Chris Colby (
16 Jan 1995 18:31:50 GMT wrote:

: 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

One thing you are missing is; your ancestors probably had other
children besides the ones on a direct line for you. Do you have
brothers/sisters, aunts/uncles, nieces/nephews etc.? Try drawing
out a geneology and include _all_ relatives.

Another thing you are missing is, when you go back far enough,
the number of grandparents raised to Xth gets bigger and bigger,
but some distant ancestors would have done "double duty" --
being a parent to more than one of your ancestors. You list
just over a million ancestors at generation 20, these don't
have to be (and if fact probably are not) one million _different_

Throw in the fact that some people have many children and some
die without leaving any, and you'll probably have a better
picture of what's going on.

(I've set follow-ups to

: Art Decker

Chris Colby --- email: or ---
"'My boy,' he said, 'you are descended from a long line of determined,
resourceful, microscopic tadpoles--champions every one.'"
--Kurt Vonnegut from "Galapagos"