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Stages in human evolution
Human evolution. Illustration showing stages in the evolution of humans. At left, proconsul (23-15 million years ago) is depicted hypothetically as an African ape with both primitive and advanced features. From it Australopithecus afarensis (>4- 2.5 Myr BP) evolved and displayed a bipedal, upright gait walking on two legs. Homo habilis (2.5 Myr BP) was truly human ('homo') resembling Australopithecus but also used stone tools. About 1.5 Myr BP Homo erectus (at centre) appeared in Africa, used fire, wooden tools, and migrated from Africa into Eurasia. Homo neanderthalensis (200, 000 years BP) lived in Europe and Middle East and was closely related to modern humans (right).
© David Gifford/Science Photo Library
Sputnik 1 rocket track
Sputnik 1 rocket track. Long exposure photograph of the night sky showing the track of the rocket that carried Sputnik 1, the world's first artificial satellite. Sputnik 1 was launched on October 4th, 1957 by the former Soviet Union. The name Sputnik is Russian for 'travel companion' or satellite. The body was made from a highly polished aluminium alloy sphere which measured 58 centimetres in diameter and weighed 83.5 kilograms. It also had four long antennas attached. Sputnik 1 transmitted radio signals back to earth for a period of 21 days. The success of Sputnik 1 prompted the US government to enter the Space Race with the launch of Explorer-1 four months later. Photographed on October 16th, 1957.
© DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sperm fertilising egg. Computer illustration of sperm cells (at top) approaching a human egg (lower right). One of the sperm is fertilising it. Women usually produce one large egg (ovum), whereas men release some 300 million much smaller sperm (spermatozoa) which travel with whiplash movements of their tails through the uterus to reach the egg. A few hundred sperm survive this journey and encounter the egg in the fallopian tube. Only one sperm can penetrate the egg's thick outer layer (zona pellucida) and fertilise it by fusing with its DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) genetic material. When this occurs, the egg membrane forms a barrier to other sperm.
© Alfred Pasieka/Science Photo Library