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On the cover: About 100,000 years ago, Diverse Homo species coexisted with our own species Homo sapiens. The Harbin cranium, or the Dragon Man, is one of the best preserved Middle Pleistocene human fossils. The cranium has a large cranial capacity falling in the range of modern humans, but is combined with a mosaic of primitive and derived characters. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that the diversification of the Homo genus had a much more distant past than previously presumed. The Harbin cranium and some other Middle Pleistocene human fossils from China represent the third human lineage that is the sister group of H. sapiens and has closer relationships with H. sapiens than Neanderthals with H. sapiens. Multiple Homo lineages in Africa, Asia and Europe probably had a strong capability for long-distance dispersal, but remained in relatively small and isolated populations. Diverse palaeoenvironments in Asia may have produced a varied biogeographic sink for human evolution.
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Position: Home > issue > August 28, 2021 Volume 2, Issue 3
Learning from Nature for Healthcare, Energy, and Environment
Category:   Commentary   Download:  PDF  Figure  Endnote
Author: Xiao Xiao, Yang Lan, Jun Chen

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Leaning from nature for healthcare, energy, and environment

Have you ever looked into the sky and wondered why birds could fly? Or perhaps why the leaves of cacti are needle-like? Throughout evolution, organisms have experimented with various forms and functions for over 3 billion years before the first human manipulations of stone, bone, and antler. From animal teeth to spears, fish fins to paddles, human beings have studied nature not only to satisfy curiosity but, more importantly, to learn from it for innovations and inventions. Along with the development of technology, our understanding of the creatures in nature goes beyond the pure observation of morphology to investigate exquisite composition and knowledge of fundamentals of their unique functions. Nowadays, people draw inspiration from nature to create shark skin swimsuits that increase swimming speeds, buzzard-inspired flaps that improve aircraft maneuver, and self-cleaning clothes that mimic the surface wettability of lotus leaves. These ideas are bio-inspired strategies, aiming to inspire biological methods and natural approaches to design modern technology or resolve engineering problems.





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