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Study traces first domestic cats back 9000 years

An international team of scientists revealed that all domestic cats are descended from one rodent-catching African subspecies, first tamed by Near East farmers 9 000 years ago. The researchers used genetic material from mummified cats in Egypt and remains from Viking graveyards and stone age sites.

English naturalist Joseph Banks dies

Sir Joseph Banks was an English naturalist, botanist and patron of the natural sciences. He made his name on the 1766 natural history expedition to Newfoundland and Labrador. Soon after, he took part in Captain James Cook's first great voyage, visiting Brazil, Tahiti, New Zealand and Australia. He was President of the Royal Society for over 41 years and advised King George III on the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, making it the world's leading botanical gardens.

French mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal is born

Pascal was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Catholic theologian. He laid the foundation for the modern theory of probabilities. In hydrodynamics Pascal formulated what came to be known as Pascal's law of pressure and invented the syringe and hydraulic press. He also built the first mechanical calculator to help his father, a tax collector, with his work. The device was called Pascaline.

Eratosthenes of Cyrene calculates Earth’s circumference

Eratosthenes of Cyrene was a Greek mathematician, geographer, poet, astronomer, and music theorist. He is best known for being the first person to calculate the circumference of the Earth which he did by comparing altitudes of the mid-day sun at two places a known North-South distance apart. His calculation was remarkably accurate. He was also the first to calculate the tilt of the Earth's axis.

Anniversaries of famous