Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Manual Dexterity and Other Mexicans

From rawstory.com, 10/9/13

"Scientists claim that big toes and thumbs evolved in parallel"

“New research from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute indicates that, contrary to current belief, early hominids developed finger dexterity before they became bipedal. The long-standing theory that bipedalism “freed up” the proto-human hand for using tools has been overturned by brain imaging and fossil evidence that indicates that the quadruped brains possess the same potential for manual dexterity as human.”

“‘In early quadruped hominids, finger control and tool use were feasible, while an independent adaptation involving the use of the big toe for functions like balance and walking occurred with bipedality,’ the authors wrote.”

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If you’ve read this blog with any regularity, you’re aware of my theory that humans descended from the trees to go hunting. The study mentioned above supports that contention. Mainly, it supports the observation that our ape and simian cousins also have finger dexterity; but it’s fairly obvious that one has to have said dexterity in order to wield weapons, which both us and chimps do. My ignorance was that I wasn’t aware that the field thought finger dexterity came after bipedalism; I’d never heard that. My question would be, having observed other primates, from where did that idea arise? It’s not self-evident.

Ah, the mysteries of science.

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