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.
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