According to The Associated Press, Ancestory.com researchers have discovered the actor and the creator of Sherlock Holmes are 16th cousins, twice removed. They're linked by John of Gaunt, the duke of Lancaster and the fourth son of King Edward III of England, who lived in the 14th century. He was Doyle's 15th great-grandfather and Cumberbatch's 17th great-grandfather.
Of course, the great literary detective, famed for his aphorism that "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth," would likely have already deduced that most people of European descent share comparatively recent ancestors, especially if he had read the work of scientists Peter Ralph and Graham Coop in their PLOS Biology paper The Geography of Recent Genetic Ancestry across Europe.
The news comes on an auspicious day for “Sherlock” fans: the premiere of the show's fourth season, which marks the introduction of a new series villain played by Toby Jones.
"Sherlock" Season Four premieres today on BBC One in the United Kingdom and PBS in the United States.