Oct 17, 2007

Cousinly love

You probably saw all the coverage today of reports that T-L's boy, Barack Obama, is the eighth cousin of Dick "Shotgun" Cheney. The NY Post covered it in its typical retarded fashion here. CNN teased with the story that Obama and Satan Himself were "cousins." (I happened to be at the gym at the time and nearly flew off the treadmill.)

The problem, though, is that most journalists have so little understanding of genealogy that they throw these things out there without any context. So assuming Lynn Cheney's amateur family tree is correct (a huge assumption in the first place), we've only established the fact that Obama and Cheney share a common ancestor from 10 generations ago. It's not that impressive when you consider the fact that any two common ancestors from 20 generations ago (around the time of Columbus' stumble upon the New World) would have between 600,000 and 1 million descendents today. And if you go to some point between 75 and 150 generations ago (the first or second millienium BC), you'll probably find the lucky bloke who is the ancestor of all human beings alive today.

If you're reading this, there's a not-to-bad chance you're a cousin of Dick Cheney, too. You're welcome.

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