Solent (G-B): Hatch died with crew when Henry VIII flagship sunk in Solent 500 years ago

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Skeleton of Hatch on display at Mary Rose museum

A DNA discovery has overturned an ancient mystery and proved that the world's most famous sea dog was in fact male.

Hatch, the unfortunate hound that went down with the Mary Rose 500 years ago, was originally thought to be the only female on board the ship.

The poor pooch went down with the ship and was named after divers discovered his remains near the hatch entrance to the carpenter's cabin.

Four years ago the dog's remains went on display at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, along with 19,000 objects from Henry VIII's ship, and became a popular tourist attraction.

But now test results published in the Forensic Science International journal show that not only was Hatch in fact a boy, he shared characteristics with the modern breed of Jack Russell.

Maritime archaeologist Alex Hildred told the Independent on Sunday: “Genomic DNA extraction is something that we have only recently been able to use in amplifying ancient DNA.

It can give us the sex, colourings, coat and regressive genes, and confirm that Hatch is in fact a boy dog.”

The testing was carried out by dental students at King's College, who analysed information taken from one of the dog's teeth.

Hatch was brought on board as a ratter because at the time, sailors believed cats brought bad luck.

Tudor sailors also thought that female members of crew brought bad luck to a vessel.