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Dead Russian satellite and defunct Chinese rocket avoid ‘very high risk’ collision by at least 36ft

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dead russian satellite and defunct chinese rocket avoid very high risk collision by at least 36ft

There is no indication of an out-of-commission Russian satellite and a discarded Chinese rocket colliding in orbit.

LeoLabs, a firm that tracks space debris, identified the two craft this week, which had just a 10 percent chance of smashing into each other.

Russian Kosmos-2004 was seen moving towards the southern poles and the Chinese Change Zheng 4C headed north over the Falklands – both moving at 32,882 miles per hour.

However, the Chinese Chang Zheng rocket passed over LeoLans Kiwi Space Radar 10 minutes after the pair’s closest approach, which occurred at around 8:56pm ET.

LeoLabs has been tracking the objects used its radar arrays and the latest data suggests they missed each other by 36 feet.

The objects have a combined mass of 2.8 metric tons, and the impact would add thousands of pieces of space junk – anywhere from 10 percent to 20 percent more debris – to the 170 million currently floating in orbit. 

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LeoLabs has been tracking the objects used its radar arrays and the latest data suggests they missed each other by 36 feet

LeoLabs has been tracking the objects used its radar arrays and the latest data suggests they missed each other by 36 feet

LeoLabs has been tracking the objects used its radar arrays and the latest data suggests they missed each other by 36 feet

There is no indication of an out-of-commission Russian satellite and a discarded Chinese rocket colliding into each other in orbit. The Chinese Chang Zheng rocket passed over LeoLans Kiwi Space Radar 10 minutes after the pair’s closest approach, which occurred at around 8:56pm ET.

There is no indication of an out-of-commission Russian satellite and a discarded Chinese rocket colliding into each other in orbit. The Chinese Chang Zheng rocket passed over LeoLans Kiwi Space Radar 10 minutes after the pair’s closest approach, which occurred at around 8:56pm ET.

There is no indication of an out-of-commission Russian satellite and a discarded Chinese rocket colliding into each other in orbit. The Chinese Chang Zheng rocket passed over LeoLans Kiwi Space Radar 10 minutes after the pair’s closest approach, which occurred at around 8:56pm ET.

LeoLabs shared in a recent tweet: ‘Our latest data confirms Cosmos 2004 is still intact. Our final risk assessment showed a computed miss distance of 11 meters (+16 / -11 meters at 1-sigma uncertainty).’ 

Although there is no threat to people on Earth, the man-made materials posed a significant risk to functioning satellites in orbit.

LeoLabs shared in a recent tweet: 'Our latest data confirms Cosmos 2004 is still intact. Our final risk assessment showed a computed miss distance of 11 meters (+16 / -11 meters at 1-sigma uncertainty)'

LeoLabs shared in a recent tweet: 'Our latest data confirms Cosmos 2004 is still intact. Our final risk assessment showed a computed miss distance of 11 meters (+16 / -11 meters at 1-sigma uncertainty)'

LeoLabs shared in a recent tweet: ‘Our latest data confirms Cosmos 2004 is still intact. Our final risk assessment showed a computed miss distance of 11 meters (+16 / -11 meters at 1-sigma uncertainty)’

Shortly after LeoLabs made the announcement on Twitter, many users flocked to the social media site to share their excitement of the missed 'catastrophic' event. One users shared that it is a sigh of relief that the impact did not happen

Shortly after LeoLabs made the announcement on Twitter, many users flocked to the social media site to share their excitement of the missed 'catastrophic' event. One users shared that it is a sigh of relief that the impact did not happen

Shortly after LeoLabs made the announcement on Twitter, many users flocked to the social media site to share their excitement of the missed ‘catastrophic’ event. One users shared that it is a sigh of relief that the impact did not happen

The image shows predictions from early in the day on Thursday, but more than six hours later the rocket and satellite did not collide in orbit.  LeoLabs is set to release more details about the risk assessment in the upcoming days

The image shows predictions from early in the day on Thursday, but more than six hours later the rocket and satellite did not collide in orbit.  LeoLabs is set to release more details about the risk assessment in the upcoming days

The image shows predictions from early in the day on Thursday, but more than six hours later the rocket and satellite did not collide in orbit.  LeoLabs is set to release more details about the risk assessment in the upcoming days

LeoLabs also shared that it will release more details about the risk assessment in the upcoming days. 

The group announced there was no indication of collision Thursday at 9:51pm ET in a tweet saying: ‘CZ-4C R/B passed over LeoLabs Kiwi Space Radar 10 minutes after TCA. Our data shows only a single object as we’d hoped, with no signs of debris.’ 

People from around the world were waiting on the edge of their seats for the news of whether or not the satellite and rocket had ‘kissed’ in orbit.

Daniel Ceperley, LeoLabs’ founder and CEO, told The Washington Post: ‘Every week we see close approaches, where derelict satellites, rocket bodies, are passing within 100 meters of each other.’

‘This isn’t like this happens once a year. This happens multiple times a week. It’s sort of a ticking time bomb that’s just out there in space.’

Shortly after LeoLabs made the announcement on Twitter, many users flocked to the social media site to share their excitement of the missed ‘catastrophic’ event.

People from around the world were waiting on the edge of their seats for the news of whether or not the satellite and rocket had 'kissed' in orbit. One Twitter users was so excited by the news, they jumped out of their chair

People from around the world were waiting on the edge of their seats for the news of whether or not the satellite and rocket had 'kissed' in orbit. One Twitter users was so excited by the news, they jumped out of their chair

People from around the world were waiting on the edge of their seats for the news of whether or not the satellite and rocket had ‘kissed’ in orbit. One Twitter users was so excited by the news, they jumped out of their chair 

Although there is no threat to people on Earth, the man-made materials posed a significant risk to functioning satellites in orbit. The Space Update took this time to mention that this will be an ongoing problem, as SpaceX is building a mega constellation of Starlink satellites in low-Earth orbit.

Although there is no threat to people on Earth, the man-made materials posed a significant risk to functioning satellites in orbit. The Space Update took this time to mention that this will be an ongoing problem, as SpaceX is building a mega constellation of Starlink satellites in low-Earth orbit.

Although there is no threat to people on Earth, the man-made materials posed a significant risk to functioning satellites in orbit. The Space Update took this time to mention that this will be an ongoing problem, as SpaceX is building a mega constellation of Starlink satellites in low-Earth orbit.

Daniel Ceperley, LeoLabs’ founder and CEO, told The Washington Post: 'Every week we see close approaches, where derelict satellites, rocket bodies, are passing within 100 meters of each other'

Daniel Ceperley, LeoLabs’ founder and CEO, told The Washington Post: 'Every week we see close approaches, where derelict satellites, rocket bodies, are passing within 100 meters of each other'

Daniel Ceperley, LeoLabs’ founder and CEO, told The Washington Post: ‘Every week we see close approaches, where derelict satellites, rocket bodies, are passing within 100 meters of each other’

One user shared that it is a sigh of relief that the impact did not happen and another posted that they jumped out of their chair with glee after hearing the news.

The Space Update Twitter account took this time to mention that this will be an ongoing problem, as SpaceX is building a mega constellation of Starlink satellites in low-Earth orbit.

LeoLabs spotted the rocket and satellite Tuesday, which they shared on Twitter. 

‘This event continues to be very high risk and will likely stay this way through the time of closest approach,’ LeoLabs said in a tweet.

Astronomer Jonathan McDowell weighed in on the event saying 18 Space Control Squadron, which detects, tracks and identifies all artificial objects in orbit, disagrees with LeoLabs about the two’s close pass.

‘The 18SPCS disagrees with LeoLabs about whether there was a close pass at all. My analysis of TLEs shows a < 1 km pass but it’s possible the pass didn’t meet their standard of collision probability being more than 1 in 10000, according to their tracking,’ McDowell shared.

‘And of course I don’t know whether the LeoLabs or the 18SPCS tracking solution was more accurate.’

McDowell had shared an image of their paths Wednesday, which shows the Russian Kosmos-2004 moving towards the southern poles and the Chinese Chang Zheng 4C heading north over the Falklands.

The predicted paths also suggested the two could eventually meet head on over Antarctica – but luckily the predictions were wrong.

Astronomer Jonathan McDowell weighed in on the event with a model prediction. The image shows the Russian Kosmos-2004 moving towards the southern poles above Earth and the Chinese Chang Zheng 4C is heading north over the Falklands

Astronomer Jonathan McDowell weighed in on the event with a model prediction. The image shows the Russian Kosmos-2004 moving towards the southern poles above Earth and the Chinese Chang Zheng 4C is heading north over the Falklands

Astronomer Jonathan McDowell weighed in on the event with a model prediction. The image shows the Russian Kosmos-2004 moving towards the southern poles above Earth and the Chinese Chang Zheng 4C is heading north over the Falklands

LeoLabs, a firm that tracks space debris, identified the two craft this week, which had just a 10 percent chance of smashing into each other. The team had predicted an impact time at 8:56 pm ET, but announced there is no indication of collision nearly an hour later

LeoLabs, a firm that tracks space debris, identified the two craft this week, which had just a 10 percent chance of smashing into each other. The team had predicted an impact time at 8:56 pm ET, but announced there is no indication of collision nearly an hour later

 LeoLabs, a firm that tracks space debris, identified the two craft this week, which had just a 10 percent chance of smashing into each other. The team had predicted an impact time at 8:56 pm ET, but announced there is no indication of collision nearly an hour later

McDowell also said that the two items breaking apart during impact would add 10 to 20 percent more space junk into orbit.  

However, the Aerospace Corporation, based in California, calculated a much lower chance of collision – one in 250,000 million.

‘I don’t mean to throw any shade whatsoever on [LeoLabs’] process or their sensors or anything else,’ Ted Muelhaupt at the Aerospace Corporation told Business Insider

‘But the sensors, the data we have access to says we’re pretty confident [the satellites] are not going to hit.’ 

LeoLabs , a firm that tracks space debris, created a model that shows the objects would pass less than 40 feet apart and just a 10 percent chance of the two smashing into each other

LeoLabs , a firm that tracks space debris, created a model that shows the objects would pass less than 40 feet apart and just a 10 percent chance of the two smashing into each other

LeoLabs , a firm that tracks space debris, created a model that shows the objects would pass less than 40 feet apart and just a 10 percent chance of the two smashing into each other 

A Chang Zheng 4C carrier rocket, like the one on the collision course, blasts off from the launch pad at the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Taiyuan, capital of north China's Shanxi Province, in October 2014

A Chang Zheng 4C carrier rocket, like the one on the collision course, blasts off from the launch pad at the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Taiyuan, capital of north China's Shanxi Province, in October 2014

A Chang Zheng 4C carrier rocket, like the one on the collision course, blasts off from the launch pad at the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Taiyuan, capital of north China’s Shanxi Province, in October 2014

A report released in May shows Russia is responsible for the majority of space junk floating in orbit – accounting for some 14,403 pieces in total. 

These include the upper stage of a type of rocket known as a space tug, called Fregat-SB, which was used to launch a scientific radio telescope, called Spektr-R, into space in 2011.

Fregat-SB was left floating after it delivered Spektr-R, and broke apart on May 8 somewhere above the Indian Ocean after nine years in orbit, leaving dozens of pieces of debris around Earth, according to Roscosmos.

Spektr-R stopped responding to ground control last year and was declared dead in May 2019.  

An expert notes that the two breaking apart during impact would have add 10 to 20 percent more space junk into orbit. These pieces can destroy satellites, telescopes, spacecraft

An expert notes that the two breaking apart during impact would have add 10 to 20 percent more space junk into orbit. These pieces can destroy satellites, telescopes, spacecraft

An expert notes that the two breaking apart during impact would have add 10 to 20 percent more space junk into orbit. These pieces can destroy satellites, telescopes, spacecraft

These pieces can destroy satellites, telescopes and spacecraft, and one NASA scientist fears they could eventually create the ‘Kessler syndrome’.

This is a theoretical scenario, proposed by NASA scientist Donald Kessler in 1978, in which the density of objects in low-Earth orbit is high enough that collisions between objects cause a cascade, in which each collision generates space debris that increases the likelihood of further collisions

It could even reach the point that it is dangerous for humans to venture off the planet.

A recent study has proposed a way to limit the number of satellites in space to help decrease the growing space debris problem.

Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder say an international agreement would be needed in order to charge operators ‘orbital use fees’ for every device launched into orbit.

The amount charged would increase each year to 2040 up to $235,000, according to the team, who say the orbit becomes clearer each year, reducing the risk costs.

WHAT IS SPACE JUNK? MORE THAN 170 MILLION PIECES OF DEAD SATELLITES, SPENT ROCKETS AND FLAKES OF PAINT POSE ‘THREAT’ TO SPACE INDUSTRY

There are an estimated 170 million pieces of so-called ‘space junk’ – left behind after missions that can be as big as spent rocket stages or as small as paint flakes – in orbit alongside some US$700 billion (£555bn) of space infrastructure.

But only 22,000 are tracked, and with the fragments able to travel at speeds above 16,777 mph (27,000kmh), even tiny pieces could seriously damage or destroy satellites.

However, traditional gripping methods don’t work in space, as suction cups do not function in a vacuum and temperatures are too cold for substances like tape and glue.

Grippers based around magnets are useless because most of the debris in orbit around Earth is not magnetic.

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04A8E4DA000003E8 0 image a 8 1521124065819

Around 500,000 pieces of human-made debris (artist’s impression) currently orbit our planet, made up of disused satellites, bits of spacecraft and spent rockets

Most proposed solutions, including debris harpoons, either require or cause forceful interaction with the debris, which could push those objects in unintended, unpredictable directions.

Scientists point to two events that have badly worsened the problem of space junk.

The first was in February 2009, when an Iridium telecoms satellite and Kosmos-2251, a Russian military satellite, accidentally collided.

The second was in January 2007, when China tested an anti-satellite weapon on an old Fengyun weather satellite.

Experts also pointed to two sites that have become worryingly cluttered.

One is low Earth orbit which is used by satnav satellites, the ISS, China’s manned missions and the Hubble telescope, among others.

The other is in geostationary orbit, and is used by communications, weather and surveillance satellites that must maintain a fixed position relative to Earth. 

 

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Australian caterpillar constructs a weapon in its head from shedded skulls to fight predators 

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australian caterpillar constructs a weapon in its head from shedded skulls to fight predators

A caterpillar native to Australia constructs a tower of its shedded skulls atop its head to use as a weapon against predators.

Called the gum-leaf skeletonizer, this insect is just two centimeters long and stacks its molted heads to create a horn like structure to swing at its enemies – specifically stink bugs.

The creatures have received a number of nicknames, from Unicorn Caterpillars to Mad Hatterpillars, but its scientific name is Uraba lugens.

Each gum-leaf skeletonizer molts up to 13 times before spinning a cocoon and turning into a moth.

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A caterpillar native to Australia constructs a tower of its shedded skulls atop its head to use as a weapon against predators

A caterpillar native to Australia constructs a tower of its shedded skulls atop its head to use as a weapon against predators

A caterpillar native to Australia constructs a tower of its shedded skulls atop its head to use as a weapon against predators

The caterpillar was first discovered in New Zealand in 1995 and received its name due to its habit of ‘skeletonizing’ gum leaves by feeding only on the green parts – leaving just the veins behind.

They are hairy creatures with shades of yellow and black, along with gray markings.

But what makes them stand out from the rest is the unique ‘hat’ on their heads consisting of former head capsules.

Dieter Hochuli, from the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney, told Newsweek: ‘These guys create a tower of five, six or seven heads up there and they use them to deter things that are trying to eat them.’

Called the gum-leaf skeletonizer, this insect is just two centimeters long and stacks its molted heads to create a horn like structure to swing at its enemies ¿ specifically stink bugs

Called the gum-leaf skeletonizer, this insect is just two centimeters long and stacks its molted heads to create a horn like structure to swing at its enemies ¿ specifically stink bugs

Called the gum-leaf skeletonizer, this insect is just two centimeters long and stacks its molted heads to create a horn like structure to swing at its enemies – specifically stink bugs

And the caterpillar’s main threat is the stink bug.

The bug attacks the skeletonizer by sticking a needle from its mouth through the victim’s head.

The stink bug hits just the tower of empty heads, leaving it confused and opens a small window of opportunity for the caterpillar to escape.

However, these caterpillars are not as helpless as they seem – it is hazardous to both the environment and human health.

The creatures have received a number of nicknames, from Unicorn Caterpillars to Mad Hatterpillars, but its scientific name is Uraba lugens

The creatures have received a number of nicknames, from Unicorn Caterpillars to Mad Hatterpillars, but its scientific name is Uraba lugens

The creatures have received a number of nicknames, from Unicorn Caterpillars to Mad Hatterpillars, but its scientific name is Uraba lugens

Each gum-leaf skeletonizer molts up to 13 times before spinning a cocoon and turning into a moth

Each gum-leaf skeletonizer molts up to 13 times before spinning a cocoon and turning into a moth

Each gum-leaf skeletonizer molts up to 13 times before spinning a cocoon and turning into a moth

The hairs on its body cause a painful sting and skin irritation on contact with human skin.

Another dangerous caterpillar has been found to invade parts of the US that also pose a threat to humans.

Called a puss caterpillar, the furry creature is covered in venomous spikes that causes intense pain when touched, along with swelling, fever and symptoms of shock.

The hairy creature resides in the southern states and feeds on shade trees such as elm, oak and sycamore, but locals have spotted it roaming around parks and other structures.

However, there has been a recent ‘outbreak’ in parts of Virginia, following numerous sightings of what is called the most poisonous caterpillar in the US.

Officials note that the toxic caterpillar population is kept under control by natural enemies, but chemical insecticides will be deployed if necessary.

Virginia Department for Forestry has received numerous reports the caterpillar in a few eastern counties in the state, but has not specified exact locations.

Another dangerous caterpillar has been found to invade parts of the US that also pose a threat to humans. Called a puss caterpillar, the furry creature is covered in venomous spikes that causes intense pain when touched, along with swelling, fever and symptoms of shock

Another dangerous caterpillar has been found to invade parts of the US that also pose a threat to humans. Called a puss caterpillar, the furry creature is covered in venomous spikes that causes intense pain when touched, along with swelling, fever and symptoms of shock

Another dangerous caterpillar has been found to invade parts of the US that also pose a threat to humans. Called a puss caterpillar, the furry creature is covered in venomous spikes that causes intense pain when touched, along with swelling, fever and symptoms of shock

Crystal Spindel Gaston, a resident in Richmond, told The Daily Progress, about her encounter with the puss caterpillar.

Gaston was reaching into the back of her car parked outside of her home when she felt an excruciating pain.

‘It felt exactly like a scorching-hot knife passing through the outside of my calf,’ said Gaston, 55, of New Kent County.

‘Before I looked down to see where it came from, I thought 100 percent I was going to see a big piece of metal, super sharp, sticking out from my car.’

She felt ‘white hot pain’ and immediately went to the emergency room – it took her three days to feel normal again.

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Denisovan DNA discovered in a Tibetan cave may be only 45,000 years old

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denisovan dna discovered in a tibetan cave may be only 45000 years old

DNA belonging to Denisovans – the ancient human ancestor – discovered in a Tibetan cave may be only 45,000 years old, scientists say. 

The ancient Denisovan mitochondrial DNA was recovered in sediments from Baishiya Karst Cave, a limestone cave at the northeast margin of the Tibetan Plateau, 3,280 meters above sea level. 

Samples indicate Denisovans occupied the high-altitude cave as early as 100,000 years ago, and possibly as recently as 45,000 years ago, as well as at a point in-between. 

If the DNA is indeed only 45,000 years old, the species would have lived alongside modern humans in northeast central Asia. 

Site of Baishiya Karst Cave, a Tibetan Buddhist sanctuary and a high-altitude paleoanthropological site for researchers

Site of Baishiya Karst Cave, a Tibetan Buddhist sanctuary and a high-altitude paleoanthropological site for researchers

Site of Baishiya Karst Cave, a Tibetan Buddhist sanctuary and a high-altitude paleoanthropological site for researchers

Denisovans, a group of extinct hominins that diverged from Neanderthals about 400,000 years ago, may have more widely inhabited northeast central Asia than scientists previously thought.  

Samples of sediments were analysed by an international team including Charles Perreault at Arizona State University.

‘When we started developing this project about 10 years ago, none of us expected Baishya Cave to be such a rich site,’ he said

‘We’ve barely scratched the surface – three small excavation units have yielded hundreds of stone tools, fauna and ancient DNA. There’s a lot that remains to be done.’ 

‘Future work in Baishiya Cave may give us a truly unique access to Denisovan behavior and solidifies the picture that is emerging, which is that Denisovans, like Neanderthals, were not mere offshoots of the human family tree.

‘They were part of a web of now-extinct populations that contributed to the current human gene pool and shaped the evolution of our species in ways that we are only beginning to understand.’

By examining the sediment of Baishiya Karst Cave located on a high plateau in Tibet, researchers identified ancient mitochondrial DNA from Denisovans, indicating their presence possibly 45,000 years ago

By examining the sediment of Baishiya Karst Cave located on a high plateau in Tibet, researchers identified ancient mitochondrial DNA from Denisovans, indicating their presence possibly 45,000 years ago

By examining the sediment of Baishiya Karst Cave located on a high plateau in Tibet, researchers identified ancient mitochondrial DNA from Denisovans, indicating their presence possibly 45,000 years ago

A mandible fossil (the ‘Xiahe mandible’) from the same cave, which was dated to 160,000, had been previously identified as Denisovan, based on a single amino acid position. 

This new study of the DNA dispels any doubt left that the Denisovans occupied the cave, according to the researchers. 

Evidence of archaic hominins this far above sea level is unusual due to the severity of the conditions at high altitude.  

Life on the plateau is harsh due to its thin air, and humans can develop altitude sickness anywhere above 2,500 meters above sea level. 

Presence of the DNA suggests the Denisovans may have evolved adaptations to high altitude, much like modern Tibetans. 

The dates of the sediments with mitochondrial DNA, along with the older 160,000-year-old Xiahe mandible, suggest that the Denisovans have been on the Plateau continuously for tens of thousands of years.

Pictured, the Xiahe mandible remains. The Denisovan jawbone was originally discovered in 1980 by a local monk

Pictured, the Xiahe mandible remains. The Denisovan jawbone was originally discovered in 1980 by a local monk

Pictured, the Xiahe mandible remains. The Denisovan jawbone was originally discovered in 1980 by a local monk

This would have been more than long enough for genetic adaptations to emerge in Denisovans to help them survive adverse effects of high altitude. 

This discovery in Baishiya Karst Cave is the first time Denisovan DNA has been recovered from a location that is outside Denisova Cave in Siberia, Russia. 

This Siberian cave was previously the single location in the world where a handful of DNA-bearing Denisovan fossil bones have been discovered. 

In 2010, a fingerbone belonging to a previously unknown hominin species was found buried in Denisova Cave in the Russian Altai Mountains. 

Evidence of this new species forced anthropologists to revise their model of human evolution outside of Africa. 

Scientists had thought that modern humans left Africa about 60,000 years ago and, as they colonized Western Eurasia, found a world empty of any other archaic hominin species.

But this assumption stemmed in part from the fact that the prehistory of Asia is poorly known compared to that of Africa and Europe. 

Researchers suspected that Denisovans were widespread in Asia, based on the widespread Denisovan genomic signal among present-day Asians. 

The new study has been published in the journal Science.                   

It is thought that the shared ancestors of Denisovans and Neanderthals, which are unknown in the fossil record, likely split from the ancestors of modern humans around 800,000 years ago

It is thought that the shared ancestors of Denisovans and Neanderthals, which are unknown in the fossil record, likely split from the ancestors of modern humans around 800,000 years ago

It is thought that the shared ancestors of Denisovans and Neanderthals, which are unknown in the fossil record, likely split from the ancestors of modern humans around 800,000 years ago

WHO WERE THE DENISOVANS?

The Denisovans are an extinct species of human that appear to have lived in Siberia and even down as far as southeast Asia.

Although remains of these mysterious early humans have only been discovered at one site – the Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains in Siberia, DNA analysis has shown they were widespread.

DNA from these early humans has been found in the genomes of modern humans over a wide area of Asia, suggesting they once covered a vast range.

DNA analysis of a fragment of pinky finger bone in 2010, (pictured) which belonged to a young girl, revealed the Denisovans were a species related to, but different from, Neanderthals.

DNA analysis of a fragment of pinky finger bone in 2010, (pictured) which belonged to a young girl, revealed the Denisovans were a species related to, but different from, Neanderthals.

DNA analysis of a fragment of pinky finger bone in 2010, (pictured) which belonged to a young girl, revealed the Denisovans were a species related to, but different from, Neanderthals.

They are thought to have been a sister species of the Neanderthals, who lived in western Asia and Europe at around the same time.

The two species appear to have separated from a common ancestor around 200,000 years ago, while they split from the modern human Homo sapien lineage around 600,000 years ago. 

Bone and ivory beads found in the Denisova Cave were discovered in the same sediment layers as the Denisovan fossils, leading to suggestions they had sophisticated tools and jewellery.

DNA analysis of a fragment of a fifth digit finger bone in 2010, which belonged to a young girl, revealed they were a species related to, but different from, Neanderthals.

Later genetic studies suggested that the ancient human species split away from the Neanderthals sometime between 470,000 and 190,000 years ago. 

Anthropologists have since puzzled over whether the cave had been a temporary shelter for a group of these Denisovans or it had formed a more permanent settlement.

DNA from molar teeth belonging to two other individuals, one adult male and one young female, showed they died in the cave at least 65,000 years earlier.

Other tests have suggested the tooth of the young female could be as old as 170,000 years.

A third molar is thought to have belonged to an adult male who died around 7,500 years before the girl whose pinky was discovered.

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Gem seal engraved with a portrait of the Greek god Apollo found in Jerusalem dates back 2,000 years

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gem seal engraved with a portrait of the greek god apollo found in jerusalem dates back 2000 years

A 2,000-year-old tiny gem seal cut of dark brown jasper that depicts the face of the Greek god Apollo has been discovered in Jerusalem‘s Western Wall.

The oval-shaped piece is just 13 mm long and 11 mm wide and was used as a stamp for personal signatures on contracts, letters and other goods – but experts believe it was worn as jewelry.

Although such seals were very common, this one is unique due to it being made of a precious stone in antiquity and bearing an engraving of a god not of the Jewish faith.

The engraving shows a side profile of a face, with long hair flowing down Apollo’s neck, a large nose and thick lips, along with a prominent chin.

Archaeologist say it is rare to find in image of another god in Jerusalem and suggests its owner was ‘making use of the impact that Apollo’s figure represents: light, purity, health and success.’

A 2,000-year-old tiny gem seal cut of dark brown jasper that depicts the face of the Greek god Apollo has been discovered in Jerusalem's Western Wall

A 2,000-year-old tiny gem seal cut of dark brown jasper that depicts the face of the Greek god Apollo has been discovered in Jerusalem's Western Wall

A 2,000-year-old tiny gem seal cut of dark brown jasper that depicts the face of the Greek god Apollo has been discovered in Jerusalem’s Western Wall

The gem seal was found during the Tzurim Valley National Park sifting project and researchers say it is only the third of its kind to be found from the Second Temple period, the Jewish News Syndicate reports.

Eli Shukron, who conducted the excavation in which the gem was found, said: ‘To this day, two such gems (seals) have been found in Masada, another in Jerusalem inside an ossuary (burial box) in a Jewish tomb on Mount Scopus, and the current gem that was discovered in close proximity to the Temple Mount.’

The pieces was crafted from the precious jasper stone and has remnants of yellow-light, brown and white layers throughout.

Archaeologists believe the gem seal may have been worn as a ring by someone of the Jewish faith, instead of being used to seal documents.

35010738 0 image a 23 1603993191383

35010738 0 image a 23 1603993191383

The oval-shaped piece is just 13 mm long and 11 mm wide and was used as a stamp for personal signatures on contracts, letters and other goods – but experts believe it was worn as jewelry

‘It is rare to find seal remains bearing the image of the god Apollo at sites identified with the Jewish population,’ said Shukron.

‘When we found the gem, we asked ourselves ‘what is Apollo doing in Jerusalem? And why would a Jew wear a ring with the portrait of a foreign god?’

‘The answer to this, in our opinion, lies in the fact that the owner of the ring wore it not as a ritual act that expresses religious belief, but as a means of making use of the impact that Apollo’s figure represents: light, purity, health, and success.’

Researchers note that Apollo, which is associate with divination, was one of the most revered gods of the time in Eastern Mediterranean regions.

The engraving shows a side profile of a face, with long hair flowing down Apollo's neck, a large nose and thick lips, along with a prominent chin

The engraving shows a side profile of a face, with long hair flowing down Apollo's neck, a large nose and thick lips, along with a prominent chin

The engraving shows a side profile of a face, with long hair flowing down Apollo’s neck, a large nose and thick lips, along with a prominent chin

Archaeologists believe the gem seal may have been worn as a ring by someone of the Jewish faith, instead of being used to seal documents

Archaeologists believe the gem seal may have been worn as a ring by someone of the Jewish faith, instead of being used to seal documents

Archaeologists believe the gem seal may have been worn as a ring by someone of the Jewish faith, instead of being used to seal documents

Shua Amorai-Stark, an expert on engraved gems, told the Jewish News Syndicate: ‘Among Apollo’s spheres of responsibility, it is likely that association with sun and light (as well as with logic, reason, prophecy and healing) fascinated some Jews, given that the element of light versus darkness was prominently present in Jewish worldview in those days.’

He also noted that the specific colors were not chosen by accident, but were likely used to highlight ‘the aspect of light in the god’s persona.’

Apollo is said to have been the most loved of all the Greek gods and stories say he was the son of Zeus and twin brother of Artemis.

The pieces was crafted from the precious jasper stone and has remnants of yellow-light, brown and white layers throughout

The pieces was crafted from the precious jasper stone and has remnants of yellow-light, brown and white layers throughout

The pieces was crafted from the precious jasper stone and has remnants of yellow-light, brown and white layers throughout

He is known for play a role in Homer’s account of the Trojan War in the Illiad.

Apollo took the side of the Trojans and assisted the famous soldiers Hector, Aeneas and Glaukos – all of which he used divine intervention to save their lives on numerous occasions.

He also sent a plague to destroy the Trojans’ enemies – the Achaeans.

Homer describes this god as the ‘far-shooter’, rouser of armies’, and ‘Phoebus Apollos’.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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