Despite slang terms that imply otherwise, the human penis contains no bones. The same cannot be said for many of our closest evolutionary relatives: Chimpanzees and bonobos both have penis bones (a macaque one is pictured, left), also known as bacula.
To find out why some primates have the feature whereas others don’t, researchers traced the bone’s evolutionary history through time. The baculum first evolved between 145 million and 95 million years ago, as reported in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. That means it was present in the most recent common ancestor of all primates and carnivores. Why some descendants, like humans, lost their bacula appears to be due to differences in mating practices: In primates, the presence of a penis[ ... ]
In December 2013, four captive chimpanzees in the state of New York became the first nonhuman primates in history to sue their human captors in an attempt to gain their freedom. The chimps' lawyers, members of a recently formed organization known as the Nonhuman Rights Project, were asking a judge to grant their clients the basic right to not be imprisoned illegally. The judges of the New York lawsuits ultimately dismissed them all on the grounds that the plaintiffs aren't people. The appeals are ongoing. [ ... ]
As a secondary school educator, I often see students sharing their drinks with one another. This bugs me more than anything because it causes germs to be easily spread from one person to another. The problem is, students have this misconception that if they are not sick, then the person they are sharing their drink with won't get sick either. Sounds rational, but is it true? Definitely not. Each person's immune system is unique, and so is our microbiome (as described in the video below). What may be harmless to one person may not be so much to another. I believe this video does an excellent job demonstrating that not only are humans unique in a sense that we each have our own personalities, have different occupations, and come from differe [ ... ]
Scientists have discovered that the extraordinary ability for Sherpas and Tibetans to reach 4,000 m without experiencing altitude sickness is due to a gene inherited from Denisovans, a species of humans that went extinct about 40,000 years ago.
The genome of the 7,000-year-old hunter-gatherer has given scientists unprecedented insight into modern humans before the rise of farming, and overturns the popular image of light-skinned European hunter-gatherers. The DNA was taken from the wisdom tooth of the Mesolithic man and revealed he was probably lactose intolerant, had more difficulty digesting starchy foods than today's humans, and carried mutations that boost the immune system against nasty illnesses previously thought to only be introduced to humans by farm animals. [ ... ]
Take a good look at that tiny piece of art. It is the smallest bone in the body is called the stirrup (or stapes) bone. It is one of the three bones that make up the middle ear; measuring about 2-3 millimetres. It has a U-shape and is the inmost bone that collects sound vibrations and then passes them along to the cochlea for interpretation by the brain. [ ... ]
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