Let's talk about the family tree a little. Here...
I drew a little diagram of all this so you can visualize it more easily: Please realize that every single person here is an individual, each one a different person. No matter if they died young or prematurely or disappeared one day and nobody knew what became of them, at some point during each of their lives they mated with another human being of the opposite sex and a baby was born as the result. They and that baby are directly related to you. They are your 'blood'. - Column
**#3**defines a certain century or period of years. Notice the 1^{st}row, column 3. It says the years '1900 - 2000'. That row represents the 20th century or the 1900s. Each successive row goes back roughly a 100 years in time.
I made little notes in the empty space in column #1 listing various world events that were going on at various periods in history, as the dates go further and further into the past, down the list. Just little references to remind us how far back in time we're at as we move down the rows. - Column
**#2**gives you a*running total*of how many generations away you are from Jane, born around the year 2000. Look at the first row again. It's telling us that by 1900 (a hundred years before she was born) 4 generations of people will share in being directly responsible for her eventual birth. Go down one line to row 2. This line is telling us that by the beginning of 1800, (1800 - 1900), 8 generations of people are now her direct ancestors. (The previous 4 is included in this new total). - Stay on that row. Notice in column #
**1**you see the number 256. Remember a few paragraphs ago, when we saw that the 8^{th}generation back from us consisted of 256 great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents? That's what column 1 tells us. It shows us how many actual great-great-great-great-great-[whatever]-grandparents, at that particular period of time in the past, would have to mate and produce a child to ensure that eventually Jane comes into the world.
For example, in 1800, 256 people on Earth need to pair up and each couple have a kid. These 128 kids all need to grow up, find each other, mate and have kids of their own. And then these 64 kids need to do the same, and so on, until it reduces down to Jane's mom and dad having her. Every single one of these people is her*direct ancestor*and a little piece of every single one of them will be a part of her gene makeup or her 'blood' when she is finally born! - Quickly move down the list, towards the bottom, traveling into the past. Those numbers get pretty exceptionally big don't they? Did I screw up my calculations or something? No. That's the law of exponential numbers. They actually become pretty meaningless and unfathomable for any human being, pretty quickly, early on. That's why I added column #
**4**. All it is, is a rough representation of the huge number in column 1 but written in the form of 'scientific notation'. Look at column 1, 3^{rd}row. See 4096. See how this quantity roughly equals 4.E+03 or 4 X 10^{3}or 4000. (Column 4 roughly rounds off the number and tells you how many zeros to add to it. Scientists use this technique to list incredibly huge numbers where accuracy is impossible or not too critical.).
Anyway. That's my chart. Let's dive into it a bit. |