National News

Museum encourages spitting in public, then sets world record for ancestry testing

Posted May 14, 2018 2:20 p.m. EDT

— Spitting in public is generally frowned upon, and doing so at a culturally-enlightened place like a museum is even more discouraged. But the Perot Museum of Nature and Science actually encouraged it Saturday morning as around 100 people set a world record for the most ancestry tests conducted simultaneously in a single place--which was rather easy to do as it was the first attempt of its kind.

The event was part of the opening-weekend festivities for the museum's renovated Being Human Hall, which explores the biology of the human race. The hall is now more interactive with all exhibits--including a preserved brain with the spinal cord attached--displayed in both English and Spanish.

"This exhibit hall is all about what it means to be uniquely human: your brain, your DNA, your walk, your face, your talk," says Krista Villarreal Moore, the museum's public relations director. "I think a lot of people are really curious to know about themselves, and your ancestry, your history, is so much a part of that."

The ancestry testing kits were provided by 23andMe. Cheryl Smith took part to try to identify the specifics of her West African heritage, but hopes she doesn't find any unwanted surprises.

"With colonization and everything," she says with a laugh, "there are just some people I'd rather stay away from."

Hey, be careful what you wish for when you dig into your past!