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Demographers say that China’s population, the world’s largest, is fast approaching its peak and will soon begin to decline. According to an estimate published last month in a peer-reviewed Chinese publication, Social Science Journal, it might have peaked in 2021, as this graph shows. The government launched a one-child policy in 1980 that did not end until 2016. Researchers say that China’s falling birth rate has continued since then because of shifting attitudes towards marriage and childbearing, as our News story explains.
Source: National Bureau of Statistics of China; Chen/Social Science Journal
In 2021, at least 150 million more women than men were experiencing food insecurity, living without reliable access to nutritious food. The war in Ukraine is exacerbating this and other gender inequalities, argue the authors of a Comment article. One reason is that women frequently act as ‘shock absorbers’ when budgets shrink, eating less to leave food for others in their household. Women and girls, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, are most likely to bear the brunt of rising prices of food, fuel and farming supplies.
Source: FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP & WHO. The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 (FAO, 2021).
This timeline shows the evolution of bipedalism. Hominins (species more closely related to humans than to chimpanzees) evolved from an ancestor shared with African great apes (such as chimpanzees and gorillas), which move by walking on four legs and climbing trees. Sahelanthropus tchadensis is the oldest known hominin species, having lived about seven million years ago, and has features that suggest it was an occasional bipedal walker. A paper in Nature last week described three fossils from Chad — a leg bone and two arm bones — attributed to Sahelanthropus that suggest this species also climbed trees. A mixed repertoire of walking and climbing makes sense given that Sahelanthropus lived near a lake with woodland adjacent to it, as this News & Views article explains.
A similar mixture of adaptations for occasional bipedal walking and tree climbing characterizes early hominins of the genera Orrorin and Ardipithecus. Species of the genus Australopithecus were more effective habitual bipedal walkers, and those in the genus Homo have many adaptations for effective bipedal walking and for running, but have lost most adaptations for tree climbing.

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Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital
St. Petersburg, FL, United States
Atrium Medical Center Parkstad
Charlotte/Winston-Salem, NC, United States
Springer Nature
New York, United States
Carver College of Medicine, UI
Iowa City, IA, United States
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