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Whoever it was probably lived a few thousand years ago, somewhere in East Asia — Taiwan, Malaysia and Siberia all are likely locations. He — or she — did nothing more remarkable than be born, live, have children and die.
Yet this was the ancestor of every person now living on Earth — the last person in history whose family tree branches out to touch all 6.5 billion people on the planet today.
That means everybody on Earth descends from somebody who was around as recently as the reign of Tutankhamen, maybe even during the Golden Age of ancient Greece. There’s even a chance that our last shared ancestor lived at the time of Christ.
Hopefully, I am not related to anyone in this forum.
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How the hell can this be MSNBC newsworthy when I wrote a virtually identical paper in high school..? People are just now figuring out something I wrote about in high school..?!? I guess I'm even smarter than I thought.
To the best of my recollection, I have written something along the following:
If you use an average generation of 30 years (which is a high guess - it's probably somewhat lower) and go back to the time of Christ, you would have 2 to the power of 66 great-great (etc.) grandparent. 2 to the power of 66 is over a quintillion, which is several billion times the estimated population of the planet at the time.
Conclusion #1: There's been a heckuva lot of inbreeding over the past 2,000 years.
Conclusion #2: Unless their line died out, any individual from that time that actually had children is probably a direct ancestor of every one of us.
Conclusion #3: Unless your line dies out, you will probably be a direct ancestor of every human being on the planet 2,000 years from now.