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Right-handedness has prevailed in humans for 500,000 years

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posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 01:25 AM
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University of Kansas:
New research suggests right-handedness prevailed 500,000 years ago


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.


There was a medical journal written way back in 1907 that talked about the "Origin of Right-Handedness" by George M. Gould, M.D. (can be viewed in part here). He writes that right-handedness is "the very oldest human institution that exists, indispensable to human co-operation whatsoever; no human cosmos possible to be ever begun without it."

Looks like the good doctor was right on the money, right-handedness would indeed appear to be among the oldest traits of the human brain, the authors of the paper above acknowledge that language itself correlates to the left brain hemisphere (thus right-handedness) and that a connection exists between language and right-handedness;


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.”


Other links that point to the prevalence of right-handedness among our ancestors;

BBC: Neanderthal


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.


Neanderthal Males Had Popeye-Like (Right) Arms:
"Neanderthal males had unusually strong upper arms, particularly on the right side, research shows"

Even Orangutangs are getting in on the right-handed action:





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.




posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 01:29 AM
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it's sad how inferior these lefties are...
i pity them, really...


naw im kidding
yea i guessed it had something to to with the brain



posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 03:05 AM
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reply to post by Blackmarketeer
 
Hiya BM, nice OP!

I think right-handedness is fashionable and sported by the in-crowd across the known universe. Snail shells, chemicals and the heads of flowers, they're all smirking at the the left-handers. Even Google seems to have an opinion as when I try to search 'chirality' it keeps giving me 'Chinese New Year.' results...


I notice in the article you linked a reference to the Sima de los Huesos in the borderlands of Spain. The research going on over there is usually fascinating. The reason why the location catches my eye is because it always reminds me of this excellent and accurate illustration of the residents...


Mauricio Anton's Paleo Art



posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 03:10 AM
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reply to post by Kandinsky
 


you should use your right hand to edit your post before you get yourself in trouble for that picture...



posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 03:10 AM
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reply to post by Blackmarketeer
 


What about those of us who are ambidextrous?

I am that 1% who was truly ambidextrous from birth and could write with both hands at the same time and equally as well. Then I was forced by my father, grandfather, and the nuns at the catholic school to use only my right hand. Being a rebellious sort I refused and quit writing with my right hand altogether.

Now I regret this as I can no longer write with my right hand as well as I used to. I can however do everything else just as easy with either hand, so I have a much greater advantage over the majority of the population.



posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 05:12 AM
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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



posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 11:39 AM
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reply to post by Kandinsky
 


Beautiful link Kandinsky, been ogling that site all morning!

This region is also one of the primary ice age refuges, it's where early man emerged from after the last ice age.

Iberia was the European demographic reservoir during the last Ice Age

Man and Neanderthal took refuge here, possibly even interbred as science now recognizes some European populations show genetic links to Neanderthals, but both groups were most likely already right-handed.

Studies in the past lean towards selective breeding as the cause of right-handedness, i.e., we became better hunters living in groups due to our language abilities, language abilities are focused in the left-hemisphere which controls the right side of the body, thus we became right-handed. That raises the question why isn't left-handedness bred out? This study would indicate the right- and left-handedness have more to do with a combination of genes within the brain, the combination of which can determine a persons handedness;

What causes some people to be left-handed, and why are fewer people left-handed than right-handed?


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.


Something like this most occur in higher primates, as language studies have also focused on handedness;

Signs of Cultural Transmission in a Chimpanzee

Although in this study the handedness was thought to link to the development of language as spoken with the tongue, whereas Chimps learned to communicate by sign language. Still the tendency was towards a slight right-handedness.



posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 11:41 PM
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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.


I think you're just joking, but left-handed Neanderthals would be able to use spears just fine. They would just throw it with their left arm.

I'm left handed and using things with your right-hand is not hard. Computers at libraries and schools usually have the mouse at the right side of the computer, you get used to using your right hand for that, it's not hard. More complicated tasks, such as writing, are difficult to do with the right hand.



posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 11:48 PM
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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


Well the word "sinister" comes from Old French "sinistra" meaning "left" which comes from the Latin word "sinestra" meaning "left hand".



posted on Apr, 22 2011 @ 12:05 AM
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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?!



posted on Apr, 22 2011 @ 05:47 PM
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reply to post by Mercurio
 

Yeah, my bad, I forgot to put the bouncy laughing face to indicate it was a joke,

(I'm pretty sure spears don't come in left- or right-handed varieties.... 'cause if they do then my joke was just a complete bust...)


reply to post by lifeissacred
 

He was able to determine from the accidental scrapings that occurred in this neanderthals teeth that he was eating with his right hand. Much like if you were to persistently stab your right cheekbone with your dinner fork a future anthropologist might be able to determine you were a right-handed eater. And yes my analogies need work.



posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 12:19 AM
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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?!


I'm guessing the teeth on the right were more worn down than those on the left.



posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 01:12 AM
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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?



posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 01:18 AM
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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?


It's human nature to be curious. Doesnt matter that the question was a simple one, he found a possible answer. Its interesting none the less no matter how trivial some might think it to be



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