CCNet DIGEST, 28 April 1999


     "There was a period in our ancient history during which we came
     close to extinction" (Christopher Wills, University of California)

    EXPLOREZONE, 26 April 1999

    THE TIMES, 28 April 1999

    Rainer Arlt <>

    Richard Kowalski <>

    Emilio Spedicato <EMILIO@IBGUNIV.UNIBG.IT>


From EXPLOREZONE, 26 April 1999

By Robert Roy Britt

04/26/99: While many scientists have been chronicling and speculating
about the demise and extinction of many and varied species, past and
present, one group of researchers was quietly looking into the
near-death experience of the species to which those very researchers

"There was a period in our ancient history during which we came close
to extinction," said biologist Christopher Wills of the University of
California, San Diego. A new study by Wills and his colleagues supports
the controversial idea that humans have had at least one dramatic
population reduction during the last million years.

In fact, the researchers found that the numbers of our predecessors may
have gone up and down like a yo-yo, reaching precariously low levels
more than once.

The study, to be published in tomorrow's issue of the Proceedings of
the National Academy of Sciences, also shows that the human species
possesses much less genetic variation than our closest relatives, the
apes. That means that while we may come in all sorts of sizes, shapes
and so on, inside we're all really much more alike than you might
think. In fact, the study showed, one group of 55 chimps musters more
genetic variety than all of the human race combined.

"Despite their much smaller numbers and restricted ranges, the African
apes retain much more genetic variation than humans," said lead author
Pascal Gagneux, who conducted the research as a doctoral student in the
laboratory of David Woodruff, the paper's senior author. "The family
tree also shows that the human branch has been pruned. Our ancestors
lost much of their original variability."

How we came to be so monotonously similar is rooted in our brush, or
perhaps brushes, with death. It is less clear why these
near-catastrophes happened, but scientists said it likely involved one
or more of the following: disease, environmental disaster or conflict.

The researchers studied the DNA of humans and apes, and the results
confirm that chimpanzees and bonobos are our closest living relatives,
the scientists said. The work may also hold clues to the origin of
certain animal-born diseases, including HIV-1.

"Conservation of the remaining great apes is critical," said Woodruff,
"as they still have so much to teach us about ourselves." ez

Copyright 1999,


From THE TIMES, 28 April 1999

By Nigel Hawkes, Science Editor

LAST November astronomers anxious to see the best meteor shower for 33
years decamped to Asia, where fireworks were predicted. In reality,
they would have done better to stay at home. Instead of amazing the
people of East Asia, the 1998 Leonids shower produced its most dramatic
fireballs over the Atlantic 16 hours earlier.

In a remarkable piece of scientific detection, this unexpected result
has been traced back to events that took place more than 600 years ago
in 1333.

The annual Leonids shower (so-called because the shooting stars appear
to originate from the constellation of Leo) is caused by the Earth
passing through the orbit of the comet Tempel-Tuttle. This happens
every year, but especially brilliant displays occur every 33 years or
so, when the comet has passed close to the Sun, releasing more dust
particles for Earth to plunge through.

Predicting the timing of such an event is notoriously difficult, but
missing the best part of the event by 16 hours was a big error. Now
three astronomers - Dr David Asher and Professor Mark Bailey, of Armagh
Observatory, and Professor Vacheslav Emelyanenko, of South Ural
University in Chelyabinsk, in the Russian Federation - say that we must
look back to 1333 for an explanation.

The display that many astronomers missed occurred as Earth passed
through an extremely dense, narrow stream of large dust grains and
particles, up to several centimetres in diameter. The timing suggested
that these particles were in an orbit rather different from that of the
main stream of small grains shed by the comet, and that they left the
comet's nucleus many hundreds of years ago.

They calculated the motion of large dust grains ejected from the comet
at each of the last 42 occasions when it made its closest approach to
the Sun. They identified September 1333 as the time when most of the
observed particles must have been released. These particles did not
spread out in space because of a dynamical process known as resonance,
the same process that keeps Saturn's rings in place.

In this case it is the influence of Jupiter which kept the dust cloud
intact instead of allowing it to spread around the entire orbit of the

In the latest issue of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical
Society, they report that the particles occupy a rather short arc,
forming a dense strand of large particles separate from the "normal"
strands of small particles, which lie ahead of and behind the comet.

The calculations show that in November 1998 the arc of particles
released in 1333 cut right through Earth's orbit, and the calculated
time for when this happened matched the observed meteor shower maximum
to the hour.

The researchers are not expecting a repeat performance of bright
fireballs in November this year. But a strong "normal" display is
likely, peaking at about 2am on November 18, because of meteoroids
ejected from comet Tempel-Tuttle in 1866, 1899 and 1932 that have not
yet had time to disperse around the comet's orbit.

Copyright 1999, The Times Newspapers Ltd.


From Rainer Arlt <>

I M O   S h o w e r   C i r c u l a r


The number of Lyrid observations which have reached the Visual
Commission is not large. Reports by 13 observers as listed below came
in during the last week. We are very grateful to these quick reports
allowing a first look at the 1999 Lyrid activity.

The ZHR profile indicates slightly higher activity of the Lyrids in
1999 compared with most of the recent years which showed maximum
activity of ZHR~15 to 20. However, 6 out of the 7 periods averaging to
the highest ZHR of 32 in the early  morning of April 23 comprise the
reports of only two observers  at the same location.

If the enhanced activity is confirmed by additional observations, it
would not manifest an outburst in the sense of the 1982 or older
activity peaks, since those were very short in duration. The reports
giving ZHR=32 cover the period April 22, 2315 -- April 23, 0216 UT and
do not show a clear peak pattern. The centre at a solar longitude of
32.5 deg agrees moderately well with the maximum of the annual Lyrid
activity between 32.0 and 32.4 deg.

BAKLA  Lars Bakmann (Denmark)
EINSH  Shlomi Eini (Israel)
ENZFR  Frank Enzlein (Germany)
LEVAN  Anna Levina (Israel)
LINMI  Mike Linnolt (USA)
MARPI  Pierre Martin (Canada)
MIKMR  Mark Mikutis (USA)
MOUPH  Philippe Moussette (Canada)
NATSV  Sven Nather (Germany)
RENJU  Jurgen Rendtel (Germany)
STOWE  Wes Stone (USA)
VANER  Erwin van Ballegoij (Aruba)
YOUKI  Kim Youmans (USA)

Date        Time Sollong nObs  nLYR   ZHR   +-
1999/04/18  0820  27.9      4    10   6.1  3.8
1999/04/19  0400  28.7      8    15   3.0  1.5
1999/04/20  0255  29.6     11    30   4.8  1.8
1999/04/21  0045  30.5      6    28   7.9  3.0
1999/04/21  0815  30.8      6    21   6.5  2.8
1999/04/22  0225  31.5      6    33  22.7  7.9
1999/04/22  0715  31.7      5    28  14.9  5.6
1999/04/23  0045  32.5      7    50  32.4  9.2
1999/04/23  0855  32.8      4    41  11.8  3.7
1999/04/24  0850  33.8      2     6   5.7  4.7

Solar longitudes are given with respect to equinox J2000.0; the ZHR is
computed with a population index r=2.9 and a zenith correction exponent
of gamma=1. nObs is the number of observing periods in the average, it
is not the number of different observers contributing. nLYR is the
number of Lyrids seen in these periods.

Rainer Arlt, 1999 April 27.


From Richard Kowalski <>

For those of you who have an interest, I have up loaded the paper that
I presented at MPAPW99; A Brief History of Minor Planet Research.

A number of people requested I put this online and it will also appear
on the CD-ROM version of the proceedings.

It can be located at

As you can see from the URL it is zipped and when uncompressed you will
have an MS WORD document.

I will convert this paper in HTML format for those of you who can't
read WORD documents very soon.



From Emilio Spedicato <EMILIO@IBGUNIV.UNIBG.IT>

Dear Benny,

the following is the program of a workshop to be held this June in
Milano and Bergamo. Please advertise it on your network.

Emilio Spedicato

                 IN HISTORY OF EARTH AND MAN

Venue: Milano, Sala Conferenze  della Provincia, via Corridoni 16,
       June 7 and 8
       Bergamo, Sala dei Giuristi, Citta' Alta,  June 9

Registration: participation is free on first come first served basis.

Qualified participants may get a reserved seat by contacting the organizers
at SCENARI@UNIBG.IT.  Additional information can be found in the web

This workshop deals with a wide range  of scientific topics based upon
developments in the research of the last twenty  years that cast new
light in the recent past of  planet Earth and consequently in the
ancient history of Homo Sapiens, where the roots are to be found
of the mythological and religious heritage.

Among the important new findings in astronomy are the discovery of the
chaoticity of the planetary orbits and the  presence of agents that can
catastrophically  interact with the Earth at time  spans that are not
too long with the span of presence of Homo Sapiens on the Earth. Some
of these questions are presented and discussed by well known specialists
in the field. The more general, complex and fascinating scenario of the
whole universe evolution is for completeness discussed in both the version
presently accepted by the majority of scientists (the  big bang scenario)
and in  possible alternative versions.

The session on geology discusses a number of questions associated with
the crucial and  difficult problem of accurately dating events in the
far past but more importantly for the consequences on the dating of the
Homo Sapiens history on the Earth (radiocarbon, dendrochronological and
radiometrical dating techniques). The problem of climatic variations
and glaciations in the late pleistocene and holocene, so important to
understand the Homo Sapiens past, is discussed. Two particular topics
that have always fascinated man, namely the  deluge traditions and the
antiquity of the great Giza Sphynx, are discussed from the geologist
point of view.

The session on anthropology reviews work done by genetists and
linguists, that shows a tree of evolution of human presence in the
world from a very likely unique original source. Evidence of contacts
before Columbus between America and Europe will be discussed.  The
hypothesis of civilization on Earth well before the third millennium
will also be considered. A non standard interpretation will be given of
who were the Nephilim and the Annunaki in the biblical and sumerian

The session on mythologies and religions presents new paradigms that
explain the remarkably complex structure of  ancient myths and
religions, where common and recurrent  elements are  present. Two
alternative proposals for the Atlantis legend are  discussed and the
seminal role of Immanuel Velikovsky in proposing that catastrophical
events of extraterrestrial origin have affected human kind till
relatively (about 700 BC) recent times is discussed.

Finally the last session  The view of institutional religions presents
the point of view of the main world religions on the archaic original
elements that are to be found at their source.

It is believed that the workshop will allow a useful interaction
between specialists in different fields and will contribute to a better
knowledge of the roots of Homo Sapiens, so intimately woven with the
complex history of planet Earth and the Solar System.


Milano, June 7 and 8, 1999


Prof. G. Cavalleri, University of Brescia
  The evolution of the Universe under the big bang scenario
Prof. E. Recami, University of Bergamo
  Open problems II  cosmology
Prof. T. Van Flandern, University of Maryland
  Evidence of the explosion of a planet in the solar
  system circa 3.2 million years ago
Prof. H. Arp, Max Planck Institute, Munich
  Open problems I in  cosmology
Dr. V. Clube, Oxford University
  Deism and revelation or cosmological and anthropic principles
Prof. Valsecchi, University of Rome
  Dinamica di piccoli corpi in orbita di collisione con la Terra
Dr. F. Barbiero, Centro Camuno di Studi Preistorici
  Changes in the rotation axis of the Earth after asteroid/cometary


Prof. F. Ricci Lucchi, University of Bologna
  Between philosophy of nature and philosophy of science: the case of geology
Prof. G. Ferrara, University of Pisa
  Natural radionuclides and geocronology
Prof. M. Baillie, Queens University, Belfast
  Dendrochonological dating, results and open problems
Prof. G. Orombelli, University of Milano
  Climatic variations in last 200.000 years derived from polar ice
Prof. F. Wezel, Academy of Lincei
  A review of main geological changes on Earth during Homo Sapiens time
Prof. A. Tollmann, Wien University
  The deluge in the peoples traditions and geological evidence
Prof. R. Schoch, University of Boston
  Erosion processes on the great Sphynx and its dating


D. Eccott, London
  Evidence of contacts between America and the Old  World before
Prof. Cavalli Sforza, Stanford  University
  What genetics says about  human history
Prof. E. Anati, Centro Camuno di Studi Preistorici
  Val Camonica, a unique example of a civilization with continuous
  documentation over 8000 years
A. Alford, Walsall
  Who were the Nephilim and the Annunaki in the biblical and sumerian

Bergamo, June 9, 1999, Sala dei Giuristi


Dr. D. Talbott, Portland
  The golden age, its collapse and the origin of classical religions
R. Bauval, Cairo
  Evidence of civilization on Earth well before the third millennium BC
F. Barbiero, Centro Camuno Studi Preistorici, Capo di Ponte
  Was Atlantis in Antarctica? Arguments in favour
E. Spedicato, Bergamo University
  Was Atlantis in Hispaniola? Arguments in favour
C. Ginenthal, New York
  Immanuel Velikovsky and his view of a catastrophical recent
  history of the Earth


Prof.  G. Borgonovo, Venegono Seminary
  The archaic elements in Genesis: the view from Catholicism
Prof. R. Laras, Milan  Head Rabbi
  The archaic elements in Genesis: the view from Hebraism
Prof. Dalil Boubakeur,  Paris Mosque
  The Meccah, the Kaaba and the ancient roots of Islam
Dr. Techeng Kong, the 79-th descendent of Confucius, Taiwan
  Preconfucian roots of Confucianism

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