John Smith's Ancestors

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John Smith's Ancestors

PostBy: franco b On: Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:29 pm

This was the title of an interesting puzzle written in 1894 by Ambrose Bierce, illustrating a fact that is undoubtedly true yet cannot be.

As all of us do, Mr. Smith had 2 parents. He had 4 grandparents and 8 great grandparents. As you can see his ancestors doubled with each generation. If you accept 34 years as a generation then this geometric progression results in more than the population of the earth at a given time, if you go back hundreds of years. How can this be? And that is just one person; what about the rest of us? Where have all these people been hiding. Around the time of the first Christmas there would have been more people than exist today. And that's just Smiths.

I don't know if you know the accepted answer and I will give it in a later post.
franco b
 
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Re: John Smith's Ancestors

PostBy: ken On: Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:19 am

people die.
ken
 
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Re: John Smith's Ancestors

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Fri Feb 05, 2010 2:39 am

Not very helpful with your puzzle, but interesting non the less.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_popu ... ever_lived
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Re: John Smith's Ancestors

PostBy: samhill On: Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:03 am

In the old times very few ever got to know their grandparents, short life spans, dieases & wars. Their were also a lot of babies that were either stillborn or passed shortly after.
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Re: John Smith's Ancestors

PostBy: wlape3 On: Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:10 am

Seems like the obvious answer is ancestors are common to many people and even in the same family tree once you go back far enough some and eventually all get counted more than once. This means in a limited population everyone is related to everyone else. Of course, if you go back far enough, we are all related.
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Re: John Smith's Ancestors

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:22 am

I don't know if it's true, but it is said that most of us with a European heritage can trace some linage back to Genghis Khan. :shock:
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Re: John Smith's Ancestors

PostBy: franco b On: Fri Feb 05, 2010 4:10 pm

wlape3 wrote:Seems like the obvious answer is ancestors are common to many people and even in the same family tree once you go back far enough some and eventually all get counted more than once. This means in a limited population everyone is related to everyone else. Of course, if you go back far enough, we are all related.


Bingo! You got it. Congratulations, It took me a lot longer to figure it out. All you other people were marrying your cousins.
franco b
 
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Re: John Smith's Ancestors

PostBy: franco b On: Fri Feb 05, 2010 4:20 pm

coaledsweat wrote:I don't know if it's true, but it is said that most of us with a European heritage can trace some linage back to Genghis Khan. :shock:


Very true. We are related in some way to everyone who has ever lived, both villains and saints. If this were not true then it would require more people than the earth could support a few thousand years ago. We are just one big happy family and we keep our fights in the family.
franco b
 
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Re: John Smith's Ancestors

PostBy: SMITTY On: Fri Feb 05, 2010 4:21 pm

toothy toothy toothy

(singing) She's my grandmaaaww ... she's my mother .... she's my wiiiife ..... :D
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Re: John Smith's Ancestors

PostBy: franco b On: Fri Feb 05, 2010 4:25 pm

SMITTY wrote:toothy toothy toothy

(singing) She's my grandmaaaww ... she's my mother .... she's my wiiiife ..... :D


Now you've got it. I think he's got it.
franco b
 
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Re: John Smith's Ancestors

PostBy: rberq On: Fri Feb 05, 2010 4:33 pm

coaledsweat wrote:I don't know if it's true, but it is said that most of us with a European heritage can trace some linage back to Genghis Khan. :shock:

Yes, because he, like Wilt Chamberlain, slept with every woman he ever met. Only back in those days there was no birth control. But if all of us here on the forum are related to Genghis, that explains why we fight so much.
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Re: John Smith's Ancestors

PostBy: franco b On: Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:27 pm

Mongkut of King of Siam fame had 92 wives and 72 children.
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Re: John Smith's Ancestors

PostBy: jpete On: Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:17 pm

Hell, MY great grand parents were related before they were married. They were second cousins. I also have two pair of aunts and uncle's in the same boat.

Not much choice Down East. Especially not in the 1800's. :D
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Re: John Smith's Ancestors

PostBy: franco b On: Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:01 pm

Another old one.

Two men are talking and a third party asks their relationship. One man answers,"brothers and sisters I have none but this man's father is my father's son"

What is the relationship?

I forget the answer so figure it out.
franco b
 
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