Ancestry Challenge


we had an interesting question in the lab about what one can infer about an evolving population from just the list of ancestors. To make this more specific, we give you a zip file that contains 100 files, each one from either of two evolutionary experiments. In both experiments we use 100 virtual organisms, however in one experiment we assume that the fitness of each organism is constantly 1.0 so that there are no differences between organisms and selection in just random, in the other experiment, we actually evolve the population, which means organisms have different fitnesses, which we use for selection.

In each file, we give you data about which organism reproduced into what other organism. Because we have a population of 100 individuals, the first generation consist of individuals numbered from 0-99. Each line in the files contains two IDs, the first is the ancestor separated from an offspring by a “,”. So for example:


means that organism 76 gave rise to organism 199. Keep in mind that we have distinct generations, so that we use the entire population to create a new one, and thus, the second number simply increases sequentially over time.

The files can be found here: Archive

If you are successful in telling us which of those 100 experiments belongs to what category, we have a second file for you to actually better test your method.


Cheers Arend


Arend Hintze


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