News A statue depicting a Neanderthal. Scientists have discovered that Neanderthal genes passed on to modern humans could affect our likelihood of developing auto-immune diseases.

The likelihood of people developing diseases including type two diabetes and Crohn's could be affected by genes inherited from Neanderthals

Time lapse : Yabba-dabba-doo?

The Flintstones was the first ever primetime television cartoon. It premiered at 8.30pm on 30 September, 1960 on the ABC network in the US. The rest, as they say, is prehistory. There were six TV series in all, which are still being rerun around the world, and now Hollywood is trying to recreate the old magic once more. Its first attempt, with John Goodman as simple-minded Fred Flintstone (above centre), was slated by the critics as a "Yabba-dabba-don't" but it still went on to be the blockbuster of summer 1994, grossing more than pounds 150m worldwide. Still in production but due for release next year is The Flintstones: Viva Rock Vegas, starring Mark Addy (above right) of Full Monty fame. This is a prequel to the previous film and sees Fred and fiancee Wilma Slaghoople head off for a romantic weekend in Rock Vegas with fellow sweethearts Barney and Betty, only for Wilma to be wooed by millionaire playboy Chip Rockefeller ...

Musical bones were world's first instruments

A SET of bird bones with holes drilled in them have turned out to be the world's oldest playable musical instruments, dating back nearly 9,000 years.

Prehistorical Notes: Homo erectus - `a dim-witted fellow'?

THE GREAT thing about human prehistory is that it changes at such a rapid pace. If it's the thrill of the new that you want, the relics of our distant ancestors are certainly a better bet for excitement than the music industry or the literary scene. Genuinely new waves in the arts are few and far between, and the froth whipped up instead is a poor substitute. It is extremely rare to encounter an artistic work which makes the world look really different. Yet the shape of the prehistoric world will bend almost as one watches it, and dramatic discoveries are announced every few months.

Science: The Neanderthal in all of us

He was only four when he died - 25,000 years ago. But his skeleton has triggered a furious debate among scientists over the origins of modern man. Did our Cro-Magnon ancestors interbreed with the much-maligned Neanderthals?

Stone Age `factory' is found in East Anglia

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have discovered remarkable evidence of early human industrial activity in East Anglia - dating back 400,000 years.

Wyman goes wild for ancient stones

THE IRONY was irresistible. In Northumberland Bill Wyman, the former Rolling Stone, was becoming excited about prehistoric stones, and an hour away the fossilised set he is more commonly associated with were preparing for their latest reincarnation.

Letter: Life's a beach

Sir: This week a front-page article about the sins and dangers of stealing pebbles from Britain's beaches ("Now it's the take-away beach", 29 May); the previous Saturday Christopher Hirst was suggesting we collect pebbles from Chesil Beach, a nationally protected area ("Back to the stone age", 22 May). Charlie Dimmock can't take all the blame!

Design: Back to the stone age

From lamps to linoleum, the pebble is the new `rock' star. By Christopher Hirst

The Guillotine: Twentieth-Century Classics That Won't Last - No 16: Rene Clair

Film history has always had its own history and, even if there now does exist a canon of sorts, discoveries are still possible, reassessments and re-evaluations seem to be made on an almost annual basis, and certain artists whose niche in the pantheon had seemed for ever secure find themselves ignominiously ousted from it.

Barometer: Nice Neanderthals

It may be a popular term of abuse, but "Neanderthal" derives, of course, from the type of primitive hominid whose remains were first discovered in the Neander valley, Germany, in 1856. Ever since, we've thought that the Neanderthals were unrelated to us humans. But just look at this reconstruction of Neanderthal domesticity provided by the Natural History Museum. Flintstones-like, the scene has much resonance for Homo sapiens, with its quarrelling juveniles and Mr Neanderthal's garment of choice, a tasselled suede jacket.

Letter: Ban GM imports

Sir: Steve Connor ("Stone age people modified crops", 18 March) uses the term "genetic modification" in such a way that it loses all meaning.

Stone Age people modified crops

ONE OF the earliest experiments in genetic engineering took place about 7,500 years ago and resulted in the first corn on the cob. Scientists have retraced steps taken by Stone Age farmers who created the first maize crop from a Mexican wild grass using a sophisticated process of genetic selection.

Psychological Notes: The Stone Age mental toolbox we inherit

THE HUMAN brain is an extraordinary organ. It has allowed us to walk on the moon, to discover the roots of matter and life, and to play chess almost as well as a computer. But this virtuosity raises a puzzle. The brain of Homo sapiens achieved its modern form and size between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago, well before the invention of agriculture, civilisations and writing in the last 10,000 years. Our foraging ancestors had no occasions to do astrophysics or play chess, and natural selection would not have rewarded them with more babies if they had. How, then, did our outsize, science-ready brain evolve?

Ancient Britons left trail of secret Picassos of Stone Age left

IT IS a visual language lost to us. Are they boundary signs? Are they religious warnings? Are they maps?
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War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?