“Ardi Ol Ardi”

top10_sci_disc_ardiWith her long, elegant fingers, 4-ft. frame and a head no larger than a bonobo’s, it’s hard not to feel a certain fondness for little Ardi, the oldest skeleton of a prehuman hominid ever found. Painstakingly pieced together from more than 100 crushed fossil fragments unearthed in Ethiopia, this female specimen of Ardipithecus ramidus (Ardi, for short) lived 4.4 million years ago and had remained anonymous until 1992, when her fragments were first discovered. After 17 years of research, a team of scientists led by Tim D. White from the University of California, Berkeley, published a comprehensive analysis of Ardi in October, in a series of articles in the journal Science. Among the team’s revelations: Ardi was surprisingly unchimplike despite being the earliest known descendant of the last common ancestor shared by humans and chimps. Also, she was capable of walking on two feet despite living in an area of woodland and forest — a finding that downplays the importance of open grasslands to the evolution of human bipedalism.

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The decoding of the human genome nearly a decade ago fueled expectations that an understanding of all human hereditary influences was within sight. But the connections between genes and, say, disease turned out to be far more complicated than imagined. What has since emerged is a new frontier in the study of genetic signaling known as epigenetics, which holds that the behavior of genes can be modified by environmental influences and that those changes can be passed down through generations. So people who smoke cigarettes in their youth, for example, sustain certain epigenetic changes, which may then increase the risk that their children’s children will reach puberty early. In October, a team led by Joseph Ecker at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif., studied human skin and stem cells to produce the first detailed map of the human epigenome. By comparing this with the epigenomes of diseased cells, scientists will be able to work out how glitches in the epigenome may lead to cancers and other diseases. The study, which was published in the journal Nature, is a giant leap in geneticists’ quest to better understand the strange witches’ brew of nature and btn_donate_SMnurture that makes us who we are.healthing living

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Don’t forget to check us out at the Prosperity Team. We want to show healthy livingyou how you can spend more time doing what you love making a nice living from home and not have to worry about finances. Click on the Prosperity Team picture and watch a great video on how I got started. Also don’t forget to sign up for my news letter.

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~ by Patrick on April 18, 2013.

One Response to ““Ardi Ol Ardi””

  1. Howdy! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website with us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Outstanding blog and amazing design.

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