One more piece of the scientific puzzle has been discovered, as the oldest “modern hand” bone found in Africa led to more clues into the mystery of how and when today’s humans reached their step in evolution.
The fossil dug in Tanzania, which was the hot spot of humanity and origins, is reportedly a tiny pinky bone that is 1.8 million years old and maintains the features of our contemporary hands. It fills the previously empty gap along the years by answering the question of when modern humanlike hands first started adapting to using tools.
What is described as a “modern hand” is when our limbs began developing longer thumbs in order to achieve firmer grips, and a straightening of our phalanges. The curved aspect of earlier humans’ fingers hinted at their adaptability of swinging through trees, which hominins have evolved past in two stages.
Earliest hominins began walking on two legs around 6 million years ago, which led to the natural evolution of longer thumbs, even while retaining curved fingers. For the next 4 million years, they maintained their aspect by dwelling on both the ground and within trees, but eventually, they abandoned their arboreal habitats and lived on the ground instead, allowing for time to bring a straightening of their fingers.
It paved the way for the proper construction of tools, which were dated as early as 2.6 million years ago. According lead author of the study, Manuel Dominguez-Rodrigo, through the invention and use of tools, the manipulation capability of altering or wielding them has created an interaction between our brain and hands that later helped develop our intelligence.
The 1.85 million years old pinky, has revealed that the straighter and more modern aspect occurred earlier than expected and has also led clues to the existence of much bigger hominins that thought were contemporary to that era.
The 1.5 inches tiny bone discovered in Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, gave answers to clues left behind by numerous other fossils, which told the story that 3.2 feet tall humans were able to catch and carry prey weighting at over 200 pounds. The possible existence of their taller, larger and stronger relatives answers the question as to how.
The findings bring support to the theory that Homo habilis was the first maker of stone artifacts, whether implements or weapons, that were discovered in abundance during that era. The debate has long been discussed on whether Homo habilis or Homo erectus were the first to originate the entire discovery.
Some remain skeptic, which means that the opposing opinions will not be simmered down just yet, but an important step has been made in discovering more about our ancestors.
Image source: sciencenews.org