evolution has shaped women’s spines! Really?

Last week the NZ Herald carried a story, based on a new scientific paper, about how evolution had affected the shape of women's spines, resulting in an adaptation for weight-bearing during pregnancy. The paper (Whitcome et al. 2007) describes how men & women differ in the shape of their lumbar vertebrae, and relates this to the weight gain […]

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faces of our ancestors

I wish I'd found this page earlier – you might have found it interesting in preparing for your exams. It's a series of images pf reconstructed hominin faces, & a linking story about them. (There's actually a whole book about them – I bought myself a copy earlier this year & I'm enjoying dipping into […]

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primates’ closest living relatives?

Scientists have thought for a long time that tree shrews are the closest living relatives of primates. More recently, use of DNA data together with morphological comparisons suggested that colugos are also very closely related to apes, monkeys (& us). These so-called 'flying' lemurs use extensive flaps of loose skin, stretched between their outspread front and back […]

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New paper on floresiensis

Ever since the 'hobbits' (Homo floresiensis) were discovered in 2003, on the Indonesian island of Flores, there has been an on-going debate about their exact relationship with our own species. One interpretation of the fossils sees them as members of our own species, with the most complete individual (LB1) having suffered from microcephaly (ie an abnormally small […]

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