Friday, 5 February 2010

Ice-cold whisky and Darwin's DNA

Darwin’s DNA
Tests on the DNA of Chris Darwin, the great-grandson of the father of evolutionary theory, have revealed that Charles Darwin’s ancestors were among the first wave of modern humans to leave Africa for the Middle East approximately 45,000 years ago. Chris Darwin was one of the 35,000 members of the public to be tested as part of the five-year Genealogy Project backed by National Geographic and IBM to examine DNA in an effort to understand the earliest origins of the human species and map how and when they moved around the globe.
The Telegraph reports.

Ice-cold whisky
According to an article in The Times, five crates of whisky and brandy belonging to Ernest Shackleton have been recovered after being buried under the Antarctic ice for over a century. They were excavated from underneath Shackleton's Antarctic hut by the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust.
For further information on Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition read Shackleton in the Antarctic, 1914-1916 .

Death of the Bo language
Boa Sr was the last surviving person fluent in the Bo language of the Andaman Islands. She was in her 80s and had survived both the Japanese occupation and the tsunami in 2004. Bo is one of the 10 Great Andamanese languages and is believed to date back to the pre-Neolithic settlement of south-east Asia. The island chain was colonised by the British in 1858 and, from 1858 to 1945, the islands served as penal colony for the British Empire. The indigenous population has steadily collapsed ever since. According to the NGO Survival International, over the past 150 years, the number of Great Andamanese has declined from about 5,000 to 52.
Jonathan Watts reports in The Guardian.
In The Andaman Islands Frances Stewart charts the history of the Andaman Islands.

The future of the Magnum photo archive
The international photography co-operative Magnum, founded in 1947 by Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson has recently sold its archive to the founder of Dell computers. The collection includes over 185,000 prints chronicling events of the 20th century. Dell is due to lend the collection to the University of Texas, where it will be accessible to scholars and the public. A slideshow of images from the collection is available on the website of The Guardian.

Stonehenge Hedges
A recent survey of the Stonehenge landscape suggests that the prehistoric monument was surrounded by two circular hedges. The results of the survey are published in British Archaeology magazine. Read the article in The Guardian.

The youngest service casualty of the Second World War
Reginald Earnshaw is believed to be the youngest service member to have died during the Second World War. He died on July 6th, 1941, on board the SS North Devon, aged 14 years and 152 days. He lied about his age in order to join the war effort as a cabin boy in the merchant navy. The BBC reports.

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