May 12, 2013

When Mothers Ruled the Earth...

In honor of mothers everywhere, I'd like to take this day to point out something you may not have noticed before.

Do you see the pattern here (aside from the cartoonist getting lazier and lazier)? Everyone alive today has one mother, two grandmothers, four great grandmothers, and so forth: in each subsequent generation we trace backwards, there is twice the number of motherly ancestors. And this number grows quite rapidly: if we go back 7 generations, or about 175 years, we can extrapolate 64 great-great-great-great-great-grandmothers living around the 1830s for anyone alive today. How about around the time of the birth of the USA? In 1776, 237 years ago, or about 10 generations back, 512 great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmothers could be claimed by anyone today. That's a lot of Mother's Day cards.