Human Evolution

Modern humans' ancestors coaxed onto two legs by rough terrain, study finds

The rugged landscape created by volcanic eruptions and tectonic plate shifts in east and south Africa millions of years ago may be what prompted our human ancestors to start walking on two legs.

The research challenges the common theory that early hominins - members of the broad human family - were forced onto two feet because climate change reduced the number of trees they could live in. According to the new hypothesis, it is not why they left the forests, but where they went, that explains the evolution.

Monday, 27 May, 2013, 5:59am

Penis size does matter to women, say researchers

Penis size does matter to women, say researchers

The eternal question of whether penis size matters to women has been studied by a team of international scientists who reported that, yes, ladies do find larger men more attractive.

14 Apr 2013 - 2:16am 1 comment

Tianyuan Man scientists unlock secrets of ancient DNA

An archaeologist explores the Zhoukoudian Caves in Beijing, which have yielded Peking Man and Tianyuan Man. Photo: SMP

The remains of Tianyuan Man consisted of more than 30 fragments, including lower jaw and leg bones, but no skull - not enough to tell how closely the ancient human related to present-day Chinese. Some palaeoanthropologists were not even sure the bones belonged to a male.

17 Feb 2013 - 5:38am

Fossils suggest giant pandas went from being man's friend to prey

Evidence suggests early humans turned pandas into prey as soon as they obtained the strength. Photo: Xinhua

Huang Wanbo put down his magnifying glass and frowned. The anthropologist was sitting at a dirty desk under a lamp in a farmhouse in Wushan county, Chongqing, staring at the two-million-year-old fossil skull of an ancestor of the giant panda, later named Ailuropoda microta.

4 Nov 2012 - 4:14am

Scientists rebuild genome of girl from 50,000 years ago

Scientists have rebuilt the entire genetic make-up of a girl who lived and died in a Siberian cave more than 50,000 years ago.

The young woman belonged to a long extinct group of humans called Denisovans, their existence known only from meagre fossil remains uncovered at the Denisova cave in the Altai mountains in 2008.

1 Sep 2012 - 4:42am

A dip in the gene pool

Consider for a moment the implications of a deaf couple who want to have a deaf child. Sharon Duchesneau and Candy McCullough never considered deafness a disability but saw it rather as a cultural identity. They wanted their child to share their language, orientation and world. They sought a sperm donor with five generations of deafness in his family and their wish was granted.

14 Jul 2007 - 12:00am


SYSTEMS DESIGNER Clive Brook-Fox has just returned from a road trip into Yunnan and Tibet. The weather was terrible, his driver couldn't speak any English so communicating in his limited Putonghua was a struggle, and they got a flat tyre along the way. It would have been a hellish expedition for most, except Brook-Fox was on a quest.

15 Jun 2006 - 12:00am

We came from Africa, but when?

Few debates have polarised scientists more than the origin of our species.

14 Dec 2003 - 12:00am

Ask mr Brain..all will be explained

When was the watch invented? It is generally believed that the first watches were invented around 1500 and made in Nuremburg, Germany in the first half of the 16th century. However, there is now evidence that they might have appeared in Italy at an earlier date.

28 Jul 1999 - 12:00am

Proposed eugenics law not on agenda

CHINA appears to have quietly shelved its controversial law on eugenics after encountering criticism from both within its own government and abroad.

4 May 1994 - 12:00am

China clarifies birth law

CHINA does not often feel it necessary to explain to an international audience the aims of domestic legislation. So it may say something for the force Beijing attributes to opinion abroad that its Public Health Ministry put out a statement yesterday attempting to put its draft law on ''eugenics and health protection'' in a more positive light.

30 Dec 1993 - 12:00am

Clinton urged to condemn birth law

THE Clinton administration now needs to spell out to China its concerns about the offensive elements of the draft law to ''avoid new births of inferior quality'', the New York Times said in an editorial yesterday.

28 Dec 1993 - 12:00am