In Franklin Roosevelt’s first year as president, the US government minted 445,500 $20 gold coins, known as Saint-Gaudens double eagles. However, because FDR took the country off the gold standard that same year, 1933, no specimens ever officially circulated and nearly all were melted down.
Officially, just two double eagle specimens were preserved for the Smithsonian Institution.
But apparently, unbeknownst to government officials, a small number of additional coins survived, as well.
The daughter and grandsons of Israel Switt, a jeweler and scrap metal dealer on Philadelphia’s Jeweler’s Row, near the Mint where the coins were struck nearly 80 years ago, say they discovered 10 of them in his bank deposit box in 2003.
Polar bears that today inhabit the Arctic region are descended from a single female brown bear that lived 20,000 to 50,000 years ago in present-day Ireland, a study released Thursday asserts.
DNA samples from polar bears taken from across their entire range in Russia, Canada, Greenland, Norway and Alaska revealed that every individual creature’s lineage could be traced back to the Irish forebear.
In addition, the analysis of genetic material inherited only through females also showed that brown and polar bears mated periodically over the last 100,000 years, Agence France-Presse reported.
“This raises the possibility that such cross-species mingling – thought by some scientists to be an additional threat to polar bears already struggling to cope with climate change – played a positive role in their recent evolution, the researchers said,” the wire service added.