Such expressions as that famous one of Linnæus, and which we often meet with in a more or less concealed form, that the characters do not make the genus, but that the genus gives the characters, seem to imply that something more is included in our classification, than mere resemblance. I believe that something more is included; and that propinquity of descent,—the only known cause of the similarity of organic beings,—is the bond, hidden as it is by various degrees of modification, which is partially revealed to us by our classifications (Darwin, 1859, p. 413f).

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Darwin came from Essex (via Peru) says cat's DNA

From the Wollongong Herald

The DNA recovered from Charles Darwin's cat has proven that the 19th century naturalist was descended from South American Indians.

The aspirant Find-an-Ancestor Project uses the DNA from celebrity pets to map human origins. Tiddles, Charles Darwin's first tabby, is one of 30 exhumed ex-pets. "We'd never thought we'd find Tiddles, or any of the 10 cats Darwin owned during his life" says Prof. Trevor Bruce of the University of Ulladulla".

Research funded by the Geelong Anti-ageing Centre tested Tiddle's preserved DNA and discovered that Darwin's ancestors came from a small village in present-day Peru. From there they travelled directly to Essex, possibly via a land bridge made of ice, or by small raft, from France. "The evidence is astounding" says Prof. Bruce, "it is amazing how much information one can extrapolate from DNA".

Tests have led scientists to propose the 'Out of Anywhere hypothesis'. Prof. Bruce explains: "Look, it doesn't matter whose DNA you have, people just seem to originate anywhere. We had the late Liberace's budgie examined and found out that 'The Glitter Man' was descended from Eskimos".

Further research hopes to discover the centre of origin for all humans. Dr. Karen Hall hopes that this will herald a new hypothesis. "Palaeoanthropologists say that humans and apes originated in Africa. Show me one celebrity with a pet gorilla!"

You can participate in the Find-an-Ancestor Project by sending $120.00 for a 'detection kit'. The kit includes a swab and a shovel for extracting pet DNA.

Related Post: Charles Darwin's genetic history unlocked by DNA project

1 comment:

John S. Wilkins said...

We here at the University of Ulladulla (note that we have a different spelling than the location, because it's very cool) take umbrage to your post. The center of origin in in fact Wagga Wagga, which has no university. Darwin's cat was originally descended from marsupial cats.