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How many unique ancestors do you have?





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Published on Aug 11, 2014

An attempt to calculate a range for the total number of ancestors we have since the Neolithic Revolution -- not just genetic ancestors, all of them!


• Frank Hiemenz, classical guitar.
• Butterworks Farm (Westfield, VT), source of the organic wheat berries multiplied on the chessboard and then given to Pineapple, the video's only actor.

Additional credits onscreen in video and at


• Richard Dawkins (2004), The ancestor's tale. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
• George Gamow (1947). One two three ... infinity. New York: Dover.
• Nathan Keyfitz (1968). Introduction to the mathematics of population. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley.
• Angus Maddison (2007). Contours of the world economy, 1-2030 AD. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
• M Phifer-Rixey, et al. (2012) "Adaptive evolution and effective population size in wild house mice." Mol. Biol. Evol. 29(10):2949-55.
• Peter Ralph and Graham Coop (2013). "The geography of recent genetic ancestry across Europe." PLOS Biology DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001555.
• Daniel de Rauglaudre. Roglo genealogy database. htttp://
• Douglas Rohde, Steve Olson, and Joseph Chang (2004). "Modelling the recent common ancestry of all living humans." Nature Vol. 431.

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