Evolution for evolution's sake; Stone tools use helped shape modern human hands

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posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 10:33 AM
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A new find of a rare example of early homonid hand bones shows that tool usage likely drove the evolution of the modern hand. The fossil thought to be from Homo erectus has features that gave early homonids the dexterity required for more advanced tool making.

AROUND 1.7 million years ago, our ancestors' tools went from basic rocks banged together to chipped hand axes. The strength and dexterity needed to make and use the latter quickly shaped our hands into what they are today –judging by a fossil that belongs to the oldest known anatomically modern hand.

The 1.7-million-year-old Acheulean hand axes were some of the first stone tools. Over the next million years, these chunky teardrop-shaped rocks became widely used before being replaced by finer, more precise flint tips. But how our ancestors' hands evolved into a shape that could make such tools is a bit of a mystery.

Before the hand axes appeared, our ancestors had primitive wrists: good for hanging from branches, but too weak to grasp and handle small objects with much force. And no hand bones had been found to fill the gap between 1.7 million years ago and 800,000 years ago – by which time humans had developed the hands we have today. Now, a new fossil is helping bridge that gap.


Earlier homonids made primative tools, known as oldawan tools,,these were simple chipped pebbles.


Later,people like homo erectus made more advanced tools like this auchelean hand qxe.



In 2010, a team led by Fredrick Kyalo Manthi of the National Museums of Kenya discovered an intriguing bone in the north of the country. Carol Ward of the University of Missouri and colleagues identified it as a third metacarpal, the long bone in the palm between the middle finger and the wrist.

Like modern human metacarpals, it has a small lump at its base – the styloid. This projection helps stabilise the wrist when the hand is gripping small objects between the thumb and fingers. Isotope dating revealed the bone to be about 1.4 million years old. It is likely to have belonged to Homo erectus.

Hand bones of early Homo erectus are almost unknown, says Richard Potts of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. "Having such a well-preserved specimen begins to answer questions about hand evolution," he says.

"This is an exciting find," agrees Mary Marzke of Arizona State University in Tempe. It shows that our ancestors' hands were already evolving into their modern form 1.4 million years ago. The forceful, repetitive and sustained processes of tool use, such as digging with rocks, would have made stronger hands desirable, says Marzke.

This would have been particularly useful for knocking off flakes to form and sharpen hand axes, says Potts. Once the important wrist features were in place, it became easier for later hominids to make smaller, finer tools.

Because the fossil is younger than the first tools, Ward's team believe it is the first evidence of anatomy evolving to suit a new technology. As stone tools became more widespread, those who had the wrist structure to use them would have had an evolutionary advantage over their weaker-wristed kin. "The way we look today has been shaped by our behaviour over millions of years," says Ward. She presented the research at this week's meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in Knoxville, Tennessee.



www.newscientist.com...

So evolutionary behavior drives evolutionary adaptations in the body.




posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 10:46 AM
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I believe this to be somewhat true. S&F for finding it. I have some old unimpressive stone tools. The knives work exceptionally well for cutting meat and even veggies
The serrations of the flaking of the rock cut meat like soft butter even though the rock thickens quickly from the edge. I wish I could find some Indians to teach me to make these things.



posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 11:36 AM
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Think people. How does an egg "will" itself to change any properties, no matter how many eons to try? Every egg comes in to being as it is, period. This has never been explained by evolution because it cannot be explained. And, defects in reproduction do not equal "evolution". Evolution was dreamed up in the 1800's prior to any understanding of DNA, genetics, and just about all other medical science we have since come to understand.

Every time some trait is attributed to evolution because "it was needed" by a creature, why do you suppose only that creature did so?



posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 03:27 PM
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Originally posted by punkinworks10
The 1.7-million-year-old Acheulean hand axes were some of the first stone tools. Over the next million years, these chunky teardrop-shaped rocks became widely used before being replaced by finer, more precise flint tips.
I have seen a very strong assertion that this was not a 'hand axe', fueled by the twin observations that you never see any use wear on them and that there are much better ways to chop down a tree. He suggests, instead, that they were cores from which flakes were removed. To prove the point, he recommends one "put it in their hands and have them go pound a tree with it." We call that "experimental archaeology".

But the original thread does explore an interesting concept.


Originally posted by rickymouse
I wish I could find some Indians to teach me to make these things.
No need to chase down the First Nations (unless you want to), I'm providing a link to a regional organisation that will show you what you need to know! Link
edit on 15-4-2013 by JohnnyCanuck because: ...just because, eh?



posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 03:29 PM
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evolution huh.......



posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 03:42 PM
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OP:
Not sure if the tools shaped the hands, or evolution of the hands helped shape finer tools though. It could very well be either way.


reply to post by resoe26
 


As opposed to a magical sky fairy? Indeed. There is more evidence for evolution than creation.
edit on 15/4/13 by secret titan because: Rearrange...



posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 03:45 PM
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Originally posted by JohnnyCanuck

Originally posted by punkinworks10
The 1.7-million-year-old Acheulean hand axes were some of the first stone tools. Over the next million years, these chunky teardrop-shaped rocks became widely used before being replaced by finer, more precise flint tips.
I have seen a very strong assertion that this was not a 'hand axe', fueled by the twin observations that you never see any use wear on them and that there are much better ways to chop down a tree. He suggests, instead, that they were cores from which flakes were removed. To prove the point, he recommends one "put it in their hands and have them go pound a tree with it." We call that "experimental archaeology".

But the original thread does explore an interesting concept.


Originally posted by rickymouse
I wish I could find some Indians to teach me to make these things.
No need to chase down the First Nations (unless you want to), I'm providing a link to a regional organisation that will show you what you need to know! Link
edit on 15-4-2013 by JohnnyCanuck because: ...just because, eh?

Id be more inclined to think these were used as weapons, or butchering tools. Seems like alot of work to put into something to only be used as a source of flake tools. dont you think?



posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 04:40 PM
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Originally posted by lordpiney
Id be more inclined to think these were used as weapons, or butchering tools. Seems like alot of work to put into something to only be used as a source of flake tools. dont you think?
Perhaps...but the work is in reducing the core. Remember, these suckers are of a size. Also, if you are going to schlep around raw materials made of rock...you are going to remove extraneous material first. Why carry the debitage around, too?




posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 05:17 PM
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reply to post by punkinworks10
 


SnF and thanks for posting - many have long thought this ofc and it's great to see evidence and a more detailed explanation. food for thought though - hammer stone use is reasonably crude and no doubt played a primary role in the noted evolutionary process of the thumb and wrist etc.. but could one of the other great primal crafts, (the much under appreciated) string making, have given us the dextrous fingers? as a sometime knapper and string maker, i sure think so..
and re stone tools shaping human hands, fancy seeing the modern version?

www.designboom.com...

and re acheulean hand axes, i think the answer is actually a bit of both as intermediate forms can be seen - IMO the flatter forms were generally made as hand tools but crude retouching produced usable flakes and lengthened the life of the piece, then through repetition they eventually became cores. some so called AHA's just look purely like cores to me though.. i think the definition of AHA's is pretty clumsy really and could do with reclassification etc

reply to post by rickymouse
 


Knapping (ie making stone tools/points etc) has a large following in the states, and knapp-ins are widely held, a web search should fix you up pretty easy.. i recently wrote a thread on getting started equipment wise and linked some other info re finding stone and some tutorials, it could help get you on your way


Flintknapping on the tightest of budgets thread:
www.abovetopsecret.com...

feel free to msg me if you want pointers or further help



posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 06:55 PM
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reply to post by skalla
 


Human hands are like other great ape hands, but shaping the hands because of tool making or any other thing only works if it helps the guys mate and have more children. Now of course if the guys had these pointy looking weapons, and chased and cut their way into the mating game "Keep away from my lady dude or I'll cut you" "Cut me? Whatdaya mean?" "Like this dude" etc etc. Then if the humans who did this had more advanced hands, ta da, survival of the fittest hands and points at work.

And while I love Skalla like a brother (he actually is my brother - my another mudda), and would trust him with my ladies - and what follows is no reflection on him - I must say that knapping in the hands of the wrong person is a bad, bad, thang. People who collect points have to always have that nagging question in the back of their mind "Is it ancient or just made yesterday?". Collectors usually seek out older collections, trusted collectors, and things with a history in auctions or from a reputable seller. As the years go by, and more of the bad, bad knappers stuff comes on the market as "real" (of course they are "real" but are they ancient?), and more people see it as a money maker, it's buyer beware.

This is a great thread, by the way, and I love the subject matter.



posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 07:55 PM
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reply to post by JohnnyCanuck
 


Hi JohnnyC

I think the "hand axe" moniker is unfortunate, because it makes people corral their thinking into the idea they were for chopping wood, that is not the case. The " hand axe" is a multi-tool like a swiss army knife of leatherman.
The hand axe was a chopper, a shovel, a scraper and a cleaver.
Those very large hand axes are not the norm as far as size, the average hand axe is very normally sized.
I've been trying to find an artiicle I read a few months ago about the " giant hand axes" , and how they might have been used to dig fresh water mollusks along an ancient lake.
And I also read an article, about a find where hand axes were used to butcher an elephant carcass, in the article the author made the argument that early HE was more of a scavenger than a hunter.

One thing to note is that even though HE hand a modern hand and subsequent homonids had the same hands, we didn't aquire the brain function for really fine dexterity until fully modern humans showed up.



posted on Apr, 16 2013 @ 02:47 AM
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reply to post by Aleister
 


while i am naturally most flattered, i urge caution as i have a habit of misbehaviour around ladies, despite my best gentlemanly intentions
i would say more but i have quality control engaged at present


you make an interesting assumption regarding knappers being male... a lot of research has been done on this, none of which i have bookmarked or saved etc that suggests it is not a gender specific craft and some have argued that it was female dominated.

obvs we have chatted a fair bit on the subject, and i do think it's a real shame that some knappers (or those that buy their work) try to pass it off as antique.. for those that are unaware i would like to say that most knappers take great pride in their work and top ones usually sign via engraving or other methods on a flake scar that is near impossible to remove without destroying the piece. many haft their work too with antler, bone, wood, cactus handles etc to make a complete piece and also leave modern organic residues (also with pine/birch tar mixed with charcoal, grass fibres or dung in as a glue) that can be dated. the fairly crude knives, spears and axes that i have made and hafted are pride of place in my home and i love showing them off.



posted on Apr, 16 2013 @ 03:42 AM
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reply to post by punkinworks10
 


Forgive me if I misinterpreted your post. But isn´t all that known for decades now?

It surely is interesting to see a new find and some pictures, but I do not really understand the significance of this find.



posted on Apr, 16 2013 @ 03:55 AM
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reply to post by JohnnyCanuck
 


i'll have to look into the AHA question more as the "use controversy" is something i only ever skimmed through - i had no idea that sheen/wear had never been found on them and am very surprised by this as ofc it's a massive piece of evidence. i'm gonna try dig some pics out later today of "fatter" AHAs that i see as definate cores, however the first one pictured in this thread, for me, has to be a bladed tool.
obvs i have made and used stone tools and recognise the alternate sided bifacial stitching down the edge. i feel that form following function is an innate part of "making" and this is a clear hall mark of an intentional blade and not a core, regardless of the ultimate effects of repeated retouching.
i know you know your beans, but i'm still kinda boggled by the "no wear" thing.



posted on Apr, 16 2013 @ 08:16 AM
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Originally posted by skalla
i know you know your beans, but i'm still kinda boggled by the "no wear" thing.
I'm citing a pal on this, but he is not generally wrong.

I tried knapping once, but I was using this pink Lebanese flint that just...would...not...flake!!! By the time I struck off a piece, it would be all step fractures. I'm sure it's more efficient than this. Next chert cobble I find, I'll give 'er another go.



posted on Apr, 16 2013 @ 08:34 AM
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reply to post by JohnnyCanuck
 


when i first knapped i knew nowt about technique and turned a good sized pile of nodules into dust while learning very little except how to turn my thumb into pulp. steps and hinges soon followed as i "improved".. not knowing any knappers i ended up getting JC Whittaker's book and that really sorted my major errors out. i struggled with flint and hammerstones for quite a while before getting some antler for hammers and flakers and trying out bottle and TV glass, then all my efforts and hard lessons with flint hit home - i'm pretty good at knapping glass now but need to be on my game and warm up a bit before making any worthwhile flint pieces.



posted on Apr, 16 2013 @ 08:48 AM
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Originally posted by Nightaudit
reply to post by punkinworks10
 


Forgive me if I misinterpreted your post. But isn´t all that known for decades now?

It surely is interesting to see a new find and some pictures, but I do not really understand the significance of this find.

Hi,
The find in question is very rare, a homo erectus hand bone, and that hand bone is clearly different than the same bone in earlier austrolopithicene fossils. What's important is that the fossil shows that the human hand adapted to human behavior, and not the other way around.



posted on Apr, 16 2013 @ 09:01 AM
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reply to post by skalla
 


That's pretty awsome skalla,

I tried a little knapping when I was young, I could fashion crude implements but nothing really good.
But once a friend and I were on an early season mtb ride and came across a small pine down across the trail. It had blown over but was still rooted so we couldn't drag it off of the trail.
I'm not sure what kind of rock is on that mtn, but it naturally fractured into flat sheets, so I took a piece and chipped a hand axe out, and we chopped out the tree.



posted on Apr, 16 2013 @ 09:38 AM
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Originally posted by secret titan

OP:
Not sure if the tools shaped the hands, or evolution of the hands helped shape finer tools though. It could very well be either way.


reply to post by resoe26
 


As opposed to a magical sky fairy? Indeed. There is more evidence for evolution than creation.
edit on 15/4/13 by secret titan because: Rearrange...


yeah yeah yeah... blah blah blah
We both know neither of us are going to convince the other that our own personal views are the absolute truth.
So we can just end this arguement now. I say evolution...
yeah right.
You say sky fairy
yeah right.

Let the chips fall where they may.
-Guess the only difference is, with evolution there is no "afterlife".
with the so called "sky fairy", there possibly is.



posted on Apr, 16 2013 @ 01:30 PM
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Uhm, is anyone here seriously using this thread and it´s content to debate AGAINST evolution?

How is that possible?

Arguing against evolution is like saying the earth is flat. Evolution is a proven fact. And that is it.

Walk into any good museum in this world and look at the fossils for yourself.

The only people who are arguing against evolution are the ones who haven´t seriously looked into it.

It´s 2013 people. We should start to live and think like that.





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