|A female seahorse and her very pregnant mate.|
"Mr Clunes is a well-known UK Republican," said Gingrich by phone from his room in an Alabama hotel Sunday evening. "We think he's a lizard."
Tests by the Humanities Science Lab at West Texas Pentecostal University were not yet complete, said Gingrich.
"They're looking at the things Mr Clunes says on his popular show," said Gingrich, adding that he would still run for the Republican nomination ahead of presidential elections in November regardless of the outcome of the tests.
Letitia Stork-Wang, a researcher on secondment at the HSL from her Sydney base said test results so far had been equivocal. "We're conducting sophisticated lexical and cognate-oriented analysis," said Stork-Wang. "The tests are ongoing."
But researchers at the non-profit Centre for Human Studies, headquartered in Rhodes in Sydney's west, are "pretty certain" that Clunes is a seahorse rather than a lizard.
"Clunes' tendency to be rude and abrasive, even in public, could appear to suggest that he is naturally on the right of the political spectrum," said Stork-Wang yesterday. "My colleagues in Sydney have done some solid work on the Doc Martin scripts, but they don't have access to some of the more high-end equipment that we have here in Texas."
Stork-Wang said that "unequivocal empirical" results would be available within two weeks.
"How can a man who wears a suit and drives an expensive European car possibly be a seahorse?" Gingrich asked. "He pisses people off left, right and centre. He's rude in the extreme, just like I am. There's no way he's not a lizard."
But Stork-Wang said that Clunes' carrying his ex-girlfriend Louisa's baby in a chest harness has troubled many, including top-level scientists in a number of countries.
"It didn't seem to fit the pattern," she said. "We'd expect that type of behaviour from bleeding-heart liberals but Clunes is obviously not one of those. I think that many people are going to be surprised when the final results are published."
Letitia Stork-Wang is usually based at the CHS but is in the United States thanks to the Fairbright Institute's Tri-Millennium Foreign-Education Endowment Fund.
West Texas Pentecostal University is the largest employer in the town of Kermit, in Winkler County.