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     Volume 4 Issue 13 | September 17, 2004 |

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We Started to 'Walk' Six Million Years Ago
Based on recent fossil evidences, American scientists have claimed that a chimp-sized hominid walked upright on two legs in Kenya's Tugen Hills over six million years ago, nearly three million years earlier than currently believed. "We have solid evidence of the earliest upright posture and bipedalism securely dated to six million years, about three million years earlier than Lucy, the most famous early biped in our lineage," writes the lead researcher, Dr. Robert Eckhardt, in the recent issue of Science. Measurements, carried out by Dr. Galik, showed that the fossil bone was about the same size as a chimpanzee's. However, CT scans of the interior of the bone reveal that the neck connecting the ball to the shaft is thinner on top than it is on the bottom, which shows that the individual from which it came walked on two legs. "In present day chimps and gorillas, the thickness in the upper and lower parts of that bone are approximately equal. In modern humans, the bone on top is thinner than on the bottom by a ratio of one to four or more. The ratio in this fossil is one to three," said Eckhardt. He said that as walking upright is the essential mark of a hominid, the ratio is functional evidence that the bones fossilised at Lukeino were from hominids.

'Super Pills'
Trial results of a new super pill, known as Rimonabant, have found the drug to be highly effective in the treatment of lipid disorders, obesity and in helping quitting smoking. The results showed that the pill lessens risk factors associated with the development of deadly diseases like heart disease, strokes and diabetes. The first year analysis of the two-year study showed people taking 20mg once a day lost an average of 19lbs in weight, 11lbs more than those on dummy pills. And the results appeared to show improved levels of "good", or HDL, cholesterol in patients, independent of weight loss. Results announced earlier this year showed use of the drug doubled the chances of quitting cigarettes without weight gain. The drug could be a major advance in the management, not just of obesity, but of the risk factors of obesity. "We are excited for several reasons. One is the trial has given superb results in terms of weight loss. Two, it actually incredibly closely mirrors the result of an earlier trial of people who had lipid disorders. Three, this information about the effects of the drug performing independent of weight loss in improving HDL cholesterol by about 25 percent, that is a huge increase and that is something we don't have drugs for at the moment," he added.



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