Surprising Family Trees!

Family trees may extend a lot farther and a lot more impressively than many realize.

This week Lynne Cheney announced that her husband, Vice President Dick Cheney, is the ninth cousin, once removed, of Sen. Barack Obama — a discovery she stumbled upon while researching her new book about growing up in Wyoming, "Blue Skies, No Fences."

"I'm not particularly surprised," said Steven Pinker, a professor of psychology at Harvard University who has done extensive research on genealogy and has uncovered plenty of other odd couples.

For those who cannot solicit the services of a Harvard professor, Ancestry.com is a helpful resource.

According to the website, "Good Morning America" anchors Diane Sawyer and Sam Champion could not escape the wild world of genealogy.

Champion is the eighth cousin, twice removed, of former President Nixon. And it is possible that Diane Sawyer is the seventh cousin, four times removed, with Helen Keller.

And the "Good Morning America" anchors are not alone.

"George Bush it turns out is related not only to his opponent John Kerry but his previous opponent Al Gore. George Bush is also related to Queen Elizabeth," Pinker said.

And Bush's family tree doesn't end there. He can also call Nixon and author Ernest Hemingway family.

The genetic code is just as convoluted as the Da Vinci code.

"Tom Hanks, who starred in 'The Da Vinci Code,' turns out to be related to a number of the historic characters that feature in 'The Da Vinci Code,' including William the Conqueror and Shakespeare," Pinker said.

Some of his findings have the air of poetic justice.

"Paris Hilton, it turns out, is related to fellow celebrity jailbirds Zsa Zsa Gabor and G. Gordon Liddy," he said.

According to Pinker, it's just simple math.

"Everyone's pedigree merges into everyone else's pedigree. So if you go back far enough, everyone is related," he said.

It turns out queen of talk Oprah Winfrey is the cousin of Elvis' daughter, Lisa Marie Presley — royalty is royalty.

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