I've been using the words successor and predecessor a lot in the context of computational feature tracking[*], which is to say, in a context not involving people (in case that makes any difference). Now I've stumbled upon the word precursor, which would be a handy alternative to predecessor because of it's equally long as successor (programmers will understand), so I've decided to look up if there is any difference.
A predecessor is something that's basically the same as what's in place right now; a precursor is something that's less developed than what's in place right now. So basically a predecessor gets replaced by the current one, a precursor not only gets replaced, but actually it has "grown" into the current one.
Both these definitions are defensible for my use case, so that's not the issue. However, I want to be consistent, and predecessor seems like the more appropriate counterpart to successor than precursor.
Yet, I have not found an equivalent synonym to successor as precursor is to predecessor. Is there one?
[*] If two features at consecutive timesteps correspond to each other, then the first/second is the predecessor/successor of the second/first.