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Copyright   2007  S. Zervos

We rarely stop to think how lucky we are to have been born. Consider the odds ---

A typical female is born with about 800,000 follicles (potential eggs) in her ovaries  A typical male can produce over 300,000,000 sperm a day. Over a sexually mature lifetime of about 65 years, a male can produce over 7,000,000,000,000 sperm. The chance that one particular reproductive cell from your father found and fertilised one particular egg from your mother to produce you was something like 1 in over 5,600,000,000,000,000,000 (calculated as 8e+05 * 3e+08 * 365 * 65 = 5.694e+18).
The odds are about the same for me or anyone else reading this page. So already we are lucky to have been born who we are out of all the other possibilities.

Our parents each faced the same odds of being born. Also, there are about 3,500,000,000 people of each sex on Earth and our fathers and mothers had to choose each other from all the members of the opposite sex, thus increasing the above already mind-boggling odds.

The same odds were stacked against our grandparents, our great-grandparents, our great-great-grandparents and so on. After a few generations the odds start to become almost  incomprehensible.

for instance, if we go back as few as four generations and calculate the odds of you, me, and every other human having come into existence, we find the odds are well in excess of 1 in 1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000.

But wait, that's not all. That's only going back as far as a trifling four generations of our ancestors. 
Assuming Bio-science has got it right, there have been many billions of generations of creatures and organisms since the beginning of life on Earth.

It's impossible to calculate the odds back to the beginning. The first single-celled organisms appeared about 3.5 billion years ago, the first vertebrates 530 million years ago, the first anthropoids about 60 million years ago and the first hominids about 5 million years ago.

Humans, in the form we are today, first appeared about 300,000 years ago and an estimated 280,000,000,000 have been born since. An average human generation is around 25 years, and similar odds to those quoted above occur for every generation. Not only do these odds multiply back through each generation to our earliest human ancestors, but they multiply further back to the first cell that appeared on Earth.

The odds were even greater against the individual (shorter) generations of the many life-forms that existed before humans made their appearance.. Against these odds, we are further lucky that a primordial behemoth didn't step on a primordial mini-mite that may have been our forebear and thereby extinguish our line of descent.

So do not curse your luck next time your selected Lotto numbers do not result in a propitious draw.
Consider yourself  several billion times lucky that you were there to select those numbers in the first place.
Right now I'm feeling lucky and very humble.