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Generation X, as a range?





Peterssidan
The individuals of generation 1 produces offsprings that becomes generation 2. Generation 2 produces offsprings that becomes generation 3, and so on. This is an easy way of thinking about it but it's not very realistic because in the wild individuals from different generations can mate and have offsprings.

Is there any standard way of counting generations when different generations can mix? I was thinking that instead of keeping track of a single generation number you keep track of a range e.g. a mother of generation 1 and a father of generation 2 would produce an offspring of generation 2—3.

To calculate the generation of an offspring you take the minimum and maximum of parent's range and add 1.
Father generation: 12—16
Mother generation: 14—17
Offspring generation: min(12, 14)+1—max(16, 17)+1 = 13—18

Is this the best way to count the generation number or are there other ways that makes more sense?
Bikerman
Seems like a basically sound idea but perhaps overcomplicated.
I would see the problem as a simple 'tree node' problem. Each node is the product of two other nodes. Generation would then be simple tree-traversal, counting each node back to wherever you want to count from. In this system you wouldn't keep a 'generation number' - which seems to me to be largely an artificial construct of limited use. If, for example, father mated with daughter, the node diagram would simply record this as

n1 - n2
:
n3 - n1
:
n4
Radar
The trouble is that when you talk about things like Generation X, there is actually some flexibility within that definition. Or people intersperse other generations in between X and Y even.

I find it most interesting to see people define the generations based on their predominant reaction to the Internet. So you have older people really struggling, mature adults accepting, and then you have young children growing up without ever having known anything different. The idea has more nuance than that, but you get the point, and it's strange think that something like technology can actually define the way we look at generations.
Peterssidan
Bikerman, so your suggestion is to keep track of the whole family tree (or graph really). From that it is possible to calculate the generation range by following the shortest and longest path.

Maybe I should mention that the reason why I was thinking about this was that I was thinking of making some kind of simple evolution simulation/game e.g. like SimLife. Storing the whole family tree feels a bit unnecessary. I was thinking that comparing the generation range between different individuals/species could be interesting but maybe that is useless information.

Radar, that is another use of the word generation but is not what I had in mind.
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