Friday, Aug. 26, 2011

8. The Fox Brothers

Identical twins born in 1857, Albert Ebenezer Fox and Ebenezer Albert Fox had very similar names and a penchant for poaching. Known as the Twin Foxes, they tried to use their matching mugs to their advantage, castigating authorities in England and demanding compensation for convicting the wrong brother. Between the two of them, the twins were convicted nearly 150 times for poaching. But according to a 1913 New York Times story, they complained "that, owing to the stupidity of gamekeepers and police, the non-offending brother has suffered conviction in almost every other instance [and that] the soul of each burns at the thought of the injustice done to his brother." Chutzpah aside, their criminal résumés helped lead to the discovery that fingerprints could be used to identify culprits — because although twins share DNA, their fingerprints are different.