Leading article: Clever bones

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Never underestimate what a 1.2 million-year-old fossil can tell us: such as when we all started to get so big-headed, so to speak.

The pelvis of a female Homo erectus, one of the probable ancestors of Homo sapiens, has been discovered by scientists working in Ethiopia. And when they dusted off that pelvis, it turned out to be unexpectedly wide.

A wide pelvis means bigger-brained offspring, which means more intelligence. This gives the scientific community a new insight into the origins of the intelligence of our species, which is, of course, the attribute that sets us apart from our more hirsute cousins in the animal kingdom.

And it gives the rest of us another reason to defy the economic gloom and swing those hips on the dancefloor this coming holiday season. Evolutionarily speaking, what could be smarter?