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BELL RINGS Ooh, a treasure chest!
That looks very mysterious, Colin.
It belonged to my great, great, great-granduncle Percy.
It's been in our family for years.
-Ah, he must've been a pirate.
Ooh, how exciting! Imagine life as a pirate, Jonathan.
You could have your own parrot and an eye patch and...
and you could make me walk the plank if I'm late for work.
It would be quite a step up from floor manager.
-Arrr! Shiver me timbers!
'This is Brain Freeze.
'With Dr Knowles,
'Colin, the floor manager
'and Ms Hucklebuck.
Come on, everybody!
-It's time for...
Today we're asking,
is everyone related?
To try and answer this,
let's start at the present day and work backwards.
If we assume that every person
has two biological parents,
eight great-grandparents and so on,
the numbers continue to double
with each generation we go back
and soon become very large.
By the time we've gone back about 2,000 years,
our family tree would consist of
one quintillion separate individuals.
But that's more than the number of people that have ever lived.
Exactly! It seems that we simply have too many ancestors.
-So what's going on?
-Join us after the break to find out.
And we're clear!
I can picture it now.
Captain Jonathan, just like Percy the Pirate.
Swashbuckling on the high seas. Arrr!
Discovering buried treasure. Arrr!
Flying big aeroplanes all around the world.
-Uh, I think that's a pilot you're thinking of, Professor.
Well, I would like to honour Percy's memory,
but all this pirate stuff sounds terribly dangerous.
Nonsense! Let's get you in shipshape.
But I can't read a compass.
I'm allergic to seafood!
Hm. Something's not right here.
So, tell us, Dr Knowles,
what's the story with the one quintillion ancestors?
The problem of having too many ancestors can be explained by
the fact that many of these are in fact the same person occupying
multiple places on the family tree.
Over many generations,
descendants of these individuals
actually ended up having children together,
even though they were in fact distant relatives.
So, is everyone related then?
Well, yes. Even you and me.
Some scientists believe that every single person on earth
is at least 50th cousins with everybody else.
And if you live in the same country
and are of the same ethnicity as someone,
chances are it's even closer.
Phew! I think I need a rest after all this.
See you next time, folks!
And we're clear...oh.
Hey, guys, I think there's something you need to know
-about Percy the Pirate.
Look, he was an astronaut as well.
And a gladiator.
And a giant chicken.
No, he wasn't any of these things.
Percy worked as a floor manager at a costume and fancy dress shop!
Ah-ha! A floor manager, just like me.
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Well, I guess you can follow in Percy's footsteps after all, Colin -
by staying right where you aRRR!