Formation of the human hand
Apparently the development of our ability to grasp tools and primarily use our hands is a bit older than previously thought. (This reminds me of that line in the 1990s make of The Island Of DR. Moreau when Fairuza Balk says to the manimals : "He is a 5 finger man"
Ancient hand bone dates origins of human dexterity
The discovery of an ancient bone at a burial site in Kenya puts the origin of human hand dexterity more than half a million years earlier than previously thought.
In all ways, the bone - a well-preserved metacarpal that connects to the index finger - resembles that of modern man, PNAS journal reports.
It is the earliest fossilised evidence of when humans developed a strong enough grip to start using tools.
Apes lack the same anatomical features.Continue reading the main story
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Prof Carol WardLead researcher
With this discovery, we are closing the gap on the evolutionary history of the human hand. ”
The 1.42 million-year-old metacarpal from an ancient hominin displays a styloid process, a distinctively human morphological feature associated with enhanced hand function.
Its discovery provides evidence for the evolution of the modern human hand more than 600,000 years earlier than previously documented and probably in the times of the genus Homo erectussensu lato.
The styloid process helps the hand bone lock into the wrist bones, allowing for greater amounts of pressure to be applied to the wrist and hand from a grasping thumb and fingers.The styloid process can be clearly seen in the Kaitio bone
Prof Carol Ward and her colleagues note that a lack of the styloid process created challenges for apes and earlier humans when they attempted to make and use tools.
This lack of a styloid process may have increased the chances of having arthritis earlier.
Prof Ward, professor of pathology and anatomical sciences at the University of Missouri, Columbia, said: "The styloid process reflects an increased dexterity that allowed early human species to use powerful yet precise grips when manipulating objects.
"This was something that their predecessors couldn't do as well due to the lack of this styloid process and its associated anatomy.
“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno