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Charles Darwin's Tangled Family Tree

Charles Darwin’s family tree was a tangled mess of inbreeding and ill health according to a recent study in the medical journal BioScience. Darwin, famous for his studies of evolution, crossbreeding and inbreeding, actually did not follow his own advice. He married his first cousin from the Wedgwood family. Apparently, cousin-to-cousin marriage was not uncommon in the Darwin family.

As we reported in Waterford Wedgwood Goes Bankrupt and Waterford Wedgwood Emerges from Bankruptcy, it was the Wedgwood family fortune made from ceramic plates and figurines that paid for much of Darwin’s research in evolution. Of course, Darwin was not alone in having a rich, inbreed family. We had previously reported about inbreeding in the Hapsburg royal family in Spain (see Inbreeding of Spanish Royalty) and even going back as far as Cleopatra and the ancient Egyptians (see Did Cleopatra Have African Ancestry?).

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