Friday, June 16, 2006

Most People Have No Genetic Future

In their textbook Archaeology 4th ed. (New York: Thames and Hudson, 2004), p 465, Colin Renfrew and Paul Bahn in discussing "genetic archaeology" note that "of the French people alive in 1789, only 14 percent have descendants today."

I find this fascinating to think about. If generally true, it would seem to suggest, for example, that the vast majority of people who lived in the past are *not* ancestors of people alive now. Indeed, those alive now would only be descended from a diminishingly small percentage of people alive in the past.

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