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LAWRENCE — Right-handedness is a distinctively human characteristic, with right-handers outnumbering lefties nine-to-one. But how far back does right-handedness reach in the human story?
Researchers have tried to determine the answer by looking at ancient tools, prehistoric art and human bones, but the results have not been definitive.
Now, David Frayer, professor of anthropology at the University of Kansas, has used markings on fossilized front teeth to show that right-handedness goes back more than 500,000 years. He is the lead author (with colleagues in Croatia, Italy and Spain) of a paper published this month in the British journal Laterality.
Frayer said that his findings on right-handedness have implications for understanding the language capacity of ancient populations, because language is primarily located on the left side of the brain, which controls the right side of the body, there is a right handedness-language connection.
“The general correlation between handedness and brain laterality shows that human brains were lateralized in a ‘modern’ way by at least half a million years ago and the pattern has not changed since then,” he said. “There is no reason to suspect this pattern does not extend deeper into the past and that language has ancient, not recent, roots.”
Professor Holliday has identified a clue in the Neanderthal skeleton: he was much stronger on the right side than on the left, and his right forearm was particularly powerful, demonstrating a very powerful grip.
... His assessment of the Neanderthal skull was startling. It was 20% larger than the average size of a modern human's brain, and anatomically identical. He could tell that this Neanderthal was right-handed and that that the areas of brain responsible for complex thought were just as advanced as ours. He should have had the ability to think like us.
The proposed genetic locus that determines hand preference contains an allele from each parent, and the various possible genetic combinations are DD individuals who are strongly right-handed, DC individuals who are also mostly right-handed, and CC individuals who are either right-handed or left-handed. These genetic combinations leave us with an overwhelming majority of human right-handers and a small, but persistently occurring, minority of left-handers.
Originally posted by Blackmarketeer
A left-handed Neanderthal clearly struggling with his right-handed spear. He'll have to wait at least 300 centuries for a "Lefty's Left Handed" to open to buy a proper right-handed spear.
Originally posted by dreamingawake
The right side of the body's functions come from the left side of the brain and visca versa, though not disputed I see it as a good presentation as why it is common. Why it is accepted is for a different reason. Left handed children in the past, I actually even know people in recent times, were said to be forced to write with their right hand, even though they favored their left hand. I guess to say it's the norm and they'd like all the children to abide by that. Education reasons? Maybe... but certainly would be easier for a teacher to teach a child by demonstration if they use the same hand. Lefthanded; It's been called everything from "evil", un natural to being shamed.edit on 21-4-2011 by dreamingawake because: corrections
Originally posted by lifeissacred
What the hell!? Science just gets more and more confusing, he figured out right-handedness has been a dominant human trait for over 500 thousand years by looking at teeth?!
Originally posted by cloaked4u
Noone has asked, WHY would they even care about who is left or right? What is the point? What are they looking for? When a person does a study, they have questions and want answers. So again, for what purpose?