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


More Articles
Biochemists find new treatment options for staph infections, inflammatory diseasesBiochemists find new treatment options for staph infections, inflammatory diseases

Newly identified galactic supercluster is home to the Milky WayNewly identified galactic supercluster is home to the Milky Way

Fingerprints for freight itemsFingerprints for freight items

US cityscapes show consistent patterns of 'urban evolution'US cityscapes show consistent patterns of 'urban evolution'

Rethinking the basic science of graphene synthesisRethinking the basic science of graphene synthesis

Missing piece found to help solve concussion puzzleMissing piece found to help solve concussion puzzle

Researcher advances a new model for a cosmological enigma -- dark matterResearcher advances a new model for a cosmological enigma -- dark matter

In directing stem cells, study shows context mattersIn directing stem cells, study shows context matters

Hydrogen powers important nitrogen-transforming bacteriaHydrogen powers important nitrogen-transforming bacteria

Computer games give a boost to EnglishComputer games give a boost to English

Pesky insect inspires practical technologyPesky insect inspires practical technology

Mapping the DNA sequence of Ashkenazi JewsMapping the DNA sequence of Ashkenazi Jews

Ready for mating at the right timeReady for mating at the right time

News media losing role as gatekeepers to new 'social mediators' on Twitter, study findsNews media losing role as gatekeepers to new 'social mediators' on Twitter, study finds

An 'anchor' that keeps proteins togetherAn 'anchor' that keeps proteins together

Giving the breath of life to infantsGiving the breath of life to infants

Biologists delay the aging process by 'remote control'Biologists delay the aging process by 'remote control'

Milk prices top concern of Northeastern organic dairy farmersMilk prices top concern of Northeastern organic dairy farmers

Cicada study discovers 2 genomes that function as 1Cicada study discovers 2 genomes that function as 1

Past temperature in Greenland adjustedPast temperature in Greenland adjusted

Stop and listen: Study shows how movement affects hearingStop and listen: Study shows how movement affects hearing

Bombarded by explosive waves of information, scientists review new ways to process and analyze Big DataBombarded by explosive waves of information, scientists review new ways to process and analyze Big Data

Program earns kudos for improving grades, retaining studentsProgram earns kudos for improving grades, retaining students

A self-organizing thousand-robot swarmA self-organizing thousand-robot swarm

Crash-testing rivetsCrash-testing rivets

Geography matters: Model predicts how local 'shocks' influence U.S. economyGeography matters: Model predicts how local 'shocks' influence U.S. economy

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

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
It's the pits: Ancient peach stones offer clues to fruit's originsIt's the pits: Ancient peach stones offer clues to fruit's origins

T. rex times 7: New dinosaur species is discovered in ArgentinaT. rex times 7: New dinosaur species is discovered in Argentina

Team unveils Dreadnoughtus: A gigantic, exceptionally complete sauropod dinosaurTeam unveils Dreadnoughtus: A gigantic, exceptionally complete sauropod dinosaur

How good is the fossil record?

Ancient mammal relatives were active at night 100 million years before origin of mammalsAncient mammal relatives were active at night 100 million years before origin of mammals

Scientists create renewable fossil fuel alternative using bacteria

Exceptionally well preserved insect fossils from the Rhône ValleyExceptionally well preserved insect fossils from the Rhône Valley

Plant life forms in the fossil record: When did the first canopy flowers appear?Plant life forms in the fossil record: When did the first canopy flowers appear?

The Disappearing Spoon author Sam Kean takes on the megalodon mythThe Disappearing Spoon author Sam Kean takes on the megalodon myth

Ancient metal workers were not slaves but highly regarded craftsmenAncient metal workers were not slaves but highly regarded craftsmen

Paleontology: Oldest representative of a weird arthropod group

Stone-tipped spears more damaging than sharpened wooden spearsStone-tipped spears more damaging than sharpened wooden spears

Bronze Age wine cellar found

Stone-tipped spears lethal, may indicate early cognitive and social skillsStone-tipped spears lethal, may indicate early cognitive and social skills

Paleontologists describe a possible dinosaur nest and young 'babysitter'Paleontologists describe a possible dinosaur nest and young 'babysitter'



Archives
September 2014
August 2014
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.