pedigree collapse

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Coined by Robert C. Gunderson.


pedigree collapse (uncountable)

  1. (genealogy) The phenomenon in which ancestral inbreeding causes the number of a descendant’s distinct ancestors to be smaller than that predicted by a binary tree (, where represents number of generations).
    • 1989, Jonathan Benthall, “The ‘Annual Review’ 1988 Reviewed: He but There-to Come(s) No(t) / Which-Who Fear(s) Deep Water” in Anthropology Today V, № 5 (October 1989), page 16:
      Less well-known is the argument that we may all have a single mitochondrial foundress — not necessarily a single ancestress — owing to the likelihood of ‘lineage extinction’ and ‘pedigree collapse’ as a result of mating with cousins, small population sizes, and high mortality before reproductive age.



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