Origins of human dexterity found in ancient bone fragment
Discovery in Kenya places dexterity origins more than half a million years earlier than thought
Dexterity, or mankind's possession of an opposible thumb, is one of the main things that separates humanity from the lower primates. Manual dexterity is one of the essential building blocks in civilization. Now, the discovery of an ancient bone at a Kenyan burial site puts the origin of dexterity more than half a million years earlier than previously believed.
The fragment from an ancient hominin displays provides evidence for the evolution of the modern human hand more than 600,000 years earlier.
A styloid process, a distinctively human morphological feature associated with hand function, is on prominent display on the 1.42 million-year-old metacarpal.
The fragment from an ancient hominin displays provides evidence for the evolution of the modern human hand more than 600,000 years earlier. Prehensile hands were originally documented in the times of the genus Homo erectussensu lato.
The styloid process helps the hand bone lock into the wrist bones. This allows for greater amounts of pressure to be applied to the wrist and hand from a grasping thumb and fingers.
Professor Carol Ward and her colleagues noted that a lack of the styloid process created challenges for apes and earlier humans when they attempted to make and use tools.
"The styloid process reflects an increased dexterity that allowed early human species to use powerful yet precise grips when manipulating objects," Ward, a professor of pathology and anatomical sciences at the University of Missouri, Columbia, said.
"This was something that their predecessors couldn't do as well due to the lack of this styloid process and its associated anatomy.
"With this discovery, we are closing the gap on the evolutionary history of the human hand. This may not be the first appearance of the modern human hand, but we believe that it is close to the origin, given that we do not see this anatomy in any human fossils older than 1.8 million years.
"Our specialized, dexterous hands have been with us for most of the evolutionary history of our genus, Homo. They are - and have been for almost 1.5 million years - fundamental to our survival," she said.
The evidence was discovered at the Kaitio site in West Turkana, near an area where the earliest Acheulian tools have appeared.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Green News
- Fearsome beast once stalked Europe: New dinosaur identified
- Resident Evil: Extinction. 30,000-year-old giant virus revived from frozen Siberian tundra
- The world's getting hotter - in spite of reductions in global warming
- BAD PARENTING: Ants use their newborns as rafts in flood situations
- Powered by Google. Online monitoring system tracks global deforestation
- TOLD YOU SO: Human behavior now causing greatest mass extinction ever, and it's finally hitting you in the wallet
- Cereal giant Kellogg pledges only to use ethically supplied palm oil
- World's largest solar farm in Mojave Desert frying birds which flies over
- Source of Amazon River may be 57 miles longer than previously believed
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?