Fossil Science
Recent News |  Archives |  Tags |  About |  Newsletter |  Submit News |  Links |  Subscribe to FossilScience.com RSS Feed Subscribe


More Articles
The electric slide dance of DNA knotsThe electric slide dance of DNA knots

Size and age of plants impact their productivity more than climate, study showsSize and age of plants impact their productivity more than climate, study shows

The development of blood-retinal barrier during astrocyte/vascular wall cell interactionThe development of blood-retinal barrier during astrocyte/vascular wall cell interaction

Bacteria manipulate salt to build shelters to hibernateBacteria manipulate salt to build shelters to hibernate

It takes two to courtIt takes two to court

Magnets for fusion energy: A revolutionary manufacturing method developedMagnets for fusion energy: A revolutionary manufacturing method developed

Breakthrough laser experiment reveals liquid-like motion of atoms in an ultra-cold clusterBreakthrough laser experiment reveals liquid-like motion of atoms in an ultra-cold cluster

Has Antarctic sea ice expansion been overestimated?Has Antarctic sea ice expansion been overestimated?

A crystal wedding in the nanocosmosA crystal wedding in the nanocosmos

Enhanced instrument enables high-speed chemical imaging of tissuesEnhanced instrument enables high-speed chemical imaging of tissues

Lunar pits could shelter astronauts, reveal details of how 'man in the moon' formedLunar pits could shelter astronauts, reveal details of how 'man in the moon' formed

Mixed genes mix up the migrations of hybrid birdsMixed genes mix up the migrations of hybrid birds

New research: When it hurts to think we were made for each otherNew research: When it hurts to think we were made for each other

Law of physics governs airplane evolutionLaw of physics governs airplane evolution

Running for life: How speed restricts evolutionary change of the vertebral columnRunning for life: How speed restricts evolutionary change of the vertebral column

Brain waves show learning to read does not end in 4th grade, contrary to popular theory

The bend in the Appalachian mountain chain is finally explainedThe bend in the Appalachian mountain chain is finally explained

Getting a grip on robotic graspGetting a grip on robotic grasp

Cooperation among humans, a question of ageCooperation among humans, a question of age

Protein's 'hands' enable bacteria to establish infection, research findsProtein's 'hands' enable bacteria to establish infection, research finds

Less exercise, not more calories, responsible for expanding waistlinesLess exercise, not more calories, responsible for expanding waistlines

High earners in a stock market game have brain patterns that can predict market bubblesHigh earners in a stock market game have brain patterns that can predict market bubbles

Platonic solids generate their 4-dimensional analoguesPlatonic solids generate their 4-dimensional analogues

A healthy lifestyle adds years to lifeA healthy lifestyle adds years to life

Study of animal urination could lead to better-engineered productsStudy of animal urination could lead to better-engineered products

Do probiotics help kids with stomach bugs?Do probiotics help kids with stomach bugs?

Strict diet suspends development, doubles lifespan of wormsStrict diet suspends development, doubles lifespan of worms

Identified for the first time what kind of explosive has been used after the detonationIdentified for the first time what kind of explosive has been used after the detonation

Copied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithmsCopied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithms

Discovery of 1.4 million-year-old fossil human hand bone closes human evolution gap (12/19/2013)

Tags:
africa, apes, axes, evolution, hands, humans, neandertals, primates, tools
Carol Ward, professor of pathology and anatomical sciences at MU, is part of the West Turkana Paleo Project Team that recently found the earliest evidence of a modern human-like hand. -  University of Missouri
Carol Ward, professor of pathology and anatomical sciences at MU, is part of the West Turkana Paleo Project Team that recently found the earliest evidence of a modern human-like hand. - University of Missouri

Humans have a distinctive hand anatomy that allows them to make and use tools. Apes and other nonhuman primates do not have these distinctive anatomical features in their hands, and the point in time at which these features first appeared in human evolution is unknown. Now, a University of Missouri researcher and her international team of colleagues have found a new hand bone from a human ancestor who roamed the earth in East Africa approximately 1.42 million years ago. They suspect the bone belonged to the early human species, Homo erectus. The discovery of this bone is the earliest evidence of a modern human-like hand, indicating that this anatomical feature existed more than half a million years earlier than previously known.

"This bone is the third metacarpal in the hand, which connects to the middle finger. It was discovered at the 'Kaitio' site in West Turkana, Kenya," said Carol Ward, professor of pathology and anatomical sciences at MU. The discovery was made by a West Turkana Paleo Project team, led by Ward's colleague and co-author Fredrick Manthi of the National Museums of Kenya. "What makes this bone so distinct is that the presence of a styloid process, or projection of bone, at the end that connects to the wrist. Until now, this styloid process has been found only in us, Neandertals and other archaic humans."

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. 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, Ward said.

The bone was found near sites where the earliest Acheulian tools have appeared. Acheulian tools are ancient, shaped stone tools that include stone hand axes more than 1.6 million years old. Being able to make such precise tools indicates that these early humans were almost certainly using their hands for many other complex tasks as well, Ward 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," Ward said. "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."

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by the University of Missouri-Columbia

Post Comments:

Search
New Articles
Violent aftermath for the warriors at Alken EngeViolent aftermath for the warriors at Alken Enge

Unique images bring fossil insects back to lifeUnique images bring fossil insects back to life

Dinosaurs fell victim to perfect storm of events, study shows

The economic territory of Upper Palaeolithic groups is specified by flintThe economic territory of Upper Palaeolithic groups is specified by flint

Mammoth and mastodon behavior was less roam, more stay at homeMammoth and mastodon behavior was less roam, more stay at home

3-D image of Paleolithic child's skull reveals trauma, brain damage3-D image of Paleolithic child's skull reveals trauma, brain damage

Leaf-mining insects destroyed with the dinosaurs, others quickly appearedLeaf-mining insects destroyed with the dinosaurs, others quickly appeared

Meet the gomphothere: UA archaeologist involved in discovery of bones of elephant ancestorMeet the gomphothere: UA archaeologist involved in discovery of bones of elephant ancestor

Prehistoric 'bookkeeping' continued long after invention of writingPrehistoric 'bookkeeping' continued long after invention of writing

New feathered predatory fossil sheds light on dinosaur flightNew feathered predatory fossil sheds light on dinosaur flight

Tooth plaque provides insight into our prehistoric ancestors' dietTooth plaque provides insight into our prehistoric ancestors' diet

Brain of world's first known predators discoveredBrain of world's first known predators discovered

Extinct sea scorpion gets a eye exam, with surprising resultsExtinct sea scorpion gets a eye exam, with surprising results

One secret of ancient amber revealed

Researchers declassify dinosaurs as being the great-great-grandparents of birdsResearchers declassify dinosaurs as being the great-great-grandparents of birds



Archives
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007


Science Friends
Agricultural Science
Astronomy News
Biology News
Biomimicry Science
Cognitive Research
Chemistry News
Tissue Engineering
Cancer Research
Cybernetics Research
Electonics Research
Forensics Report
Genetic Archaeology
Genetics News
Geology News
Microbiology Research
Nanotech News
Parenting News
Physics News


  Archives |  Submit News |  Advertise With Us |  Contact Us |  Links
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. All contents © 2000 - 2015 Web Doodle, LLC. All rights reserved.