Lincolnshire

Charles Darwin the tortoise opens University of Lincoln science lab

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Media captionTV presenter Chris Packham holds Charles Darwin as he munches his way through a ribbon made of rocket and dandelion leaves

A tortoise called Charles Darwin has officially opened a science laboratory at the University of Lincoln.

Darwin, who lives at the university, was joined by TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham, who has been appointed visiting professor.

The presenter held him while he munched through a ribbon made of rocket and dandelion leaves at the opening of the new Joseph Banks laboratories.

The BBC Springwatch host will be joining the School of Life Sciences.

Mr Packham also delivered his first lecture to about 300 students.

'Un-bearded tortoise'

Talking about his part in the opening ceremony, Mr Packham said: "I never expected to do an on stage performance with Charles Darwin."

"It symbolises the ambition of the university - no simple ribbon cutting - anyone can do that," he said.

The presenter said he was relieved the "un-bearded tortoise" was named after such an eminent figure and not Groucho Marx or Freddie Starr.

"It may not have gone quite so well," he added.

The laboratories are named after Joseph Banks - who charted the flora and fauna of Australia with Captain Cook on the HMS Endeavour almost 250 years ago.

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