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2009 is the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, and the 150th anniversary of his book "On The Origin Of Species."

To celebrate, the Mail has tracked down 13 of the Great British scientist's 100 living desendants.

Darwin had 10 children but, because of Victorian Britain's terrible infant mortality rate, three died in childhood. Of the remaining seven, only three had grandchildren.

Most live in Britain, but some live in countries such as Norway and Canada.

Their jobs range from being a Chronicles of Narnia movie actor, a botanist, a dancer, an art assistant on Dr Who, a politican, a Hollywood scriptwriter, and a poet.

One of his descendants also has other famous ancestors, which include economist John Maynard Keynes, philosopher David Hume, British politician Tony Benn and King Edward I within his family tree!

Can you see the family resemblance to Charles Darwin?

The descent of man: We trace those who claim Charles Darwin as an ancestor


By Marcus Dunk and Matthew Dennison
23rd February 2009
Daily Mail

To mark the 200th anniversary of his birth, the Mail has tracked down the descendants of scientific genius Charles Darwin. From an acupuncturist to a baronet who believes in Adam and Eve, their stories provide a fascinating portrait of modern Britain



Charles Darwin in 1854, five years before "On The Origin of Species" is published


Charles Darwin once wrote to his doctor: 'We are a wretched family and ought to be exterminated.'

The great scientist was worried that his marriage to his cousin, Emma, had created inbred children who were suffering ill-health.

Three years earlier, in 1859, Darwin had published On The Origin Of Species, his revolutionary treatise on evolution, and he knew the importance of passing on strong genes.

Thankfully, his family were living proof of his theory of the 'survival of the fittest' and they overcame repeated bouts of scarlet fever.

Inspired by the famous 'tree of life' sketch that Darwin drew in his notebooks to help explain the origins of life, we decided - to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth - to trace the father of evolution's own family tree to discover what his descendants are doing today.

Charles and Emma Darwin had ten children, of whom seven survived to adulthood. Although only three provided Darwin with grandchildren, subsequent generations have - not unsurprisingly - shown a marked aptitude for success, albeit not always in conventional ways.

Of Darwin's five sons, three received knighthoods - for services to science, botany and engineering. Others linked to his family included the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams and the novelist E. M. Forster.

Today, there are an estimated 100 living descendants of Darwin. They include a novelist, a screenwriter, an expert in exotic tomatoes and a church deacon with views very close to the creationist beliefs that the world was created in six days - which Darwin refuted. Distant relations include politicians Tony Benn and his Cabinet minister son, Hilary.

'Children are one's greatest happiness,' Darwin wrote in February 1862. He would not have been disappointed by his own legacy - but he might have been a little surprised...



Descendants 1 and 2: Sarah Darwin (above) and Skandar Keynes

1. The botanist

Sarah Darwin, 44. Great-great-granddaughter

Aged nine, she began a long-lasting fascination with plants. After graduating with a first-class degree in botany from Reading University, she joined the Natural History Museum and, like Darwin, has become an expert on the Galapagos Islands, specialising in the unique Galapagos tomato. She jokes: 'I think there is a family resemblance, though I don't think he necessarily looked like me.'


2. The teen actor

Skandar Keynes, 17. Great-great-great-grandson

Former school friend of Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe. Aged 14, he landed the role of Edmund Pevensie in the blockbuster The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe. Apart from Darwin, he can also claim the economist John Maynard Keynes, philosopher David Hume, politician Tony Benn and King Edward I within his family tree.



Descendants 3 and 4: Emma Darwin (above) and Jos Barlow

3. The novelist

Emma Darwin. Great-great-granddaughter

Named after Darwin's wife, the novelist's first book, The Mathematics Of Love, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Best First Book Award. Although she admits she 'was brought up not to mention Darwin until asked', her publishers convinced her that the connection would help her books to sell.

'To be born into such a family has many advantages, but that in itself can make growing up daunting: you can do anything with your life, as long as you do it well and seriously, and use your full intelligence and education. Taking it easy isn't an option.'

4. The ecologist

Jos Barlow, 35. Great-great-great-grandson

Out of all Darwin's living descendants, Jos Barlow seems the closest in spirit to the great man. An ecologist based at Lancaster University, he has spent a number of years living near the Amazon in Brazil, researching tropical forest ecology and the impact of wildfires on humid tropical forests and wildlife. Fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian, he has published extensively in his field.



Descendants 5 and 6: Florence Peake (above) and Christian Hambro

5. The dancer

Florence Peake, 35. Great-great-great-granddaughter

A dancer, painter and performance artist who 'creates work of an interdisciplinary nature' and 'events that inhabit the space between dance, performance and live art'. She has performed her 'work' in the National Portrait Gallery, the United States, Birmingham and Latvia. Florence is also granddaughter of Gormenghast author Mervyn Peake. One of her brothers, Lewis, is an art assistant on Doctor Who.

6. The politician

Christian Hambro, 62. Great-great-grandson

Son of late Norwegian politician and UN President Edvard Hambro. He was the director of the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority in the Eighties and was also the state secretary for the Norwegian Ministry of Justice.



Descendants 7 and 8: Phyllida Barlow (above) and Chris Darwin

7. The artist

Phyllida Barlow, 64. Great-great-granddaughter

A renowned sculptor, artist and professor at the Slade School Of Fine Art in London. At school, she recalls being taught about Darwin's theories and says: 'I was quite young and the teacher was talking about fossils and evolution and apes, and I remember becoming quite cross. 'I put up my hand and promptly informed everybody that my great-great-grandfather was actually an ape!'

Phyllida admits to being 'detached' from the scientific world, but feels an affinity with Darwin's creative side. 'When you read his letters, the intensity of his observations and the way he struggles to describe the world and what he is seeing - that is very much how artists work. I can relate to that obsessive quality.'

8. The adventurer

Chris Darwin, 37. Great-great-grandson

A London-born former advertising and TV executive who moved to Australia in 1986. Three years later, he was part of a ten-man team which braved avalanches and subzero temperatures to host the world's highest dinner party atop 22,205ft Mount Huascaran in Peru.

Two members of the party suffered hypothermia, but Darwin was proud of his achievement. 'Eating is the only thing we are good at,' he said. 'Anyone can throw a dinner party, but not the way we do it.'




Descendants 9 and 11: Jeremy Barlow (above) and Matthew Chapman

9. The musician

Jeremy Barlow, 70. Great-great-grandson

A specialist in English popular music from 1550-1750 who admits it was hard going against the family scientific grain: 'My father was disappointed I didn't become a doctor.'

He writes, lectures and performs with his group, the Broadside Band. 'A lot of the Darwin women were amateur musicians,' he says. 'I still play some of Darwin's wife's music.'

10. The acupuncturist

Teresa Barlow, 45 Great-great-granddaughter

Studied biochemistry at York University, but after discovering alternative medicine she retrained as an acupuncturist and herbalist. ' Some people might see it as a move away from scientific rationalism,' says the mother of two, 'but for me it's perfectly rational.'

Lives with her partner, acupuncturist Julian Scott, in Bath. They have written books, including Acupuncture In The Treatment Of Children, and Herbs In The Treatment Of Children: Leading A Child To Health.

11. The screenwriter

Matthew Chapman, 58. Great-great-grandson

A Hollywood scriptwriter who has written about growing up as a descendant of Darwin. But there's no mention of the great man in his films Consenting Adults, starring Kevin Spacey and Kevin Kline; Color Of Night, with Bruce Willis; or Runaway Jury with Dustin Hoffman and Rachel Weisz.Chapman was married briefly to the actress Victoria Tennant, who later married comedy actor Steve Martin.



Descendants 12 and 13: James Alan Barlow (above) and Ruth Padel

12. The baronet

James Alan Barlow, 52. Great-great-grandson

The 4th Baronet Barlow of Wimpole Street's jobs have included being maitre d' of a Scottish hotel, a business consultant and a telecommunications specialist. Now he is a deacon at the Abbotsford Christ the King Community Church in British Columbia, Canada. The Church believes that 'the Old and the New Testaments are the inspired word of God, without error in the original writings', that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, and that Adam and Eve really did once roam naked in the Garden of Eden.

'I believe in evolution, but only up to a point,' says Barlow. 'I don't believe natural selection takes us back to apes. And I think that a lot of carbon dating is out of whack.'

Barlow is something of a rebel when it comes to his heritage, with views similar to those of the creationists, but he prefers to call himself a believer in 'intelligent design'.

As for being a baronet, he prefers to keep quiet about it. 'It's not a secret,' he says. 'But when people here in Canada find out about it, they treat you as a novelty, and nobody likes to be a novelty.'

13. The poet

Ruth Padel, 62. Great-great-granddaughter

A prize-winning poet and journalist who published her seventh book of verse, Darwin: A Life In Poems, this month. Previous jobs have included excavating ancient ruins on Crete and singing in an Istanbul nightclub.

'I am no scientist. I know my poems miss out whole, huge, sophisticated areas of thought,' says Ruth. 'But what anyone can love in Darwin is his love of ideas and his enthusiasm; the way he wonders about connections and processes as well as origins.'

dailymail.co.uk
Last edited by Blackleaf; Feb 23rd, 2009 at 12:31 PM..