Are You a Dude? You Have a 1 in 200 Chance of Being a Direct Descendant of Genghis Khan


Using genetics, historical data and odds, scientists have concluded that 1 out of every 200 men in the world is a direct descendent of Genghis Khan. Discover Magazine reports that the Y chromosomes of roughly 0.5% of Earth’s male population were directly passed down by the leader of the Mongol Empire. There is no way to determine which men are direct descendants of Genghis Khan, but if you are reading this while picking the flesh off your recently felled enemy, chances are you got a lil’ Genghis in you.

Genghis Khan was a pretty powerful dude, and by his own account, he got around:

“The greatest joy for a man is to defeat his enemies, to drive them before him, to take from them all they possess, to see those they love in tears, to ride their horses, and to hold their wives and daughters in his arms.”

It is this attitude that kick-started his eventual proliferation that would reach 16 million men today. In more complex, science-y terms:

As Y chromosomes are only passed from father to son, that would mean that the Y is a record of one’s patrilineage. Genghis Khan died ~750 years ago, so assuming 25 years per generation, you get about 30 men between the present and that period. In more quantitative terms, ~10% of the men who reside within the borders of the Mongol Empire as it was at the death of Genghis Khan may carry his Y chromosome, and so ~0.5% of men in the world, about 16 million individuals alive today, do so.

How do you plan on celebrating this surprising news of Royal patronage? By skateboarding through a mall with an aluminum baseball bat while Ludwig van Beethoven jams on some keyboards, of course!

UPDATE: There is a way to determine whether or not you are a direct descendant of Genghis Khan: Find out your Y chromosomal haplotype. (Thanks to Razib Khan, author of the original article [no relation to Genghis]).

1 in 200 men direct descendants of Genghis Khan [Discover Magazine]