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Science & Technology

Did our hands evolve for punching ?

By T.K. Randall
December 21, 2012 · Comment icon 43 comments

Image Credit: Gio Dong
A new study has suggested that human hands may have evolved in a way that enables us to punch better.
The human hand is a distinctive and efficient shape, one of only a few possible configurations capable of providing ample dexterity and the ability to deliver a forceful blow to enemies at the same time. While the clenched fist doesn't deliver a greater amount of force than an open-palm, it does serve the purpose of protecting the fingers more effectively.

"Once hands are no longer used in locomotion there could have been many different ways to manipulate and many different ways to punch," said paleo-anthropolgist Milford Wolpoff. "A hand that does both is really limited in its morphology."
Human hands may have evolved their unique shape in order to better punch the living daylights out of competitors, a new study suggests.


Source: Live Science | Comments (43)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #34 Posted by Ashiene 12 years ago
If human hands weren't adapted for punching, our knuckles wouldn't jut out so well and prominently when we clench our fists.
Comment icon #35 Posted by pitchp 12 years ago
This story is over rated. The human hand comes in multi purpose, not just punching. The latest human hands are now highly evolved with many skills that it can tackle and handle. There is open hand fighting and there is fist fighting. But to state that the human hand has evolved into fist punching is ridicoulous
Comment icon #36 Posted by Zaphod222 12 years ago
This story is over rated. The human hand comes in multi purpose, not just punching. The latest human hands are now highly evolved with many skills that it can tackle and handle. There is open hand fighting and there is fist fighting. But to state that the human hand has evolved into fist punching is ridicoulous I agree. The idea that fisticuffs had an evolutionary impact is ridiculous. In fights, our ancestors would have quickly found out that grabbing a rock or a sturdy piece of wood gives them a phantastic advantage against opponents. And that is, in fact, the reason our relatively feeble-bo... [More]
Comment icon #37 Posted by GirlfromOz 12 years ago
What a load of ****! The human hand was designed for grasping etc,hand to mouth,climbing etc.The so-called evolutionary process in this article is rubbish!We have feet,legs etc for these spontaneous fight back reactions.Enough! Enough of the evolutionary bull****! Darwin had a theory.It was just a theory that has yet to be proven.Many have been deceived by Darwin.Even Einstein had trouble trying to agree with his theories!Look it up!He had no interest in trying to explain the theories of evolution!In other words,there was nothing of proof to him that would make him make a statement about it! A... [More]
Comment icon #38 Posted by GirlfromOz 12 years ago
The human hand was designed for grasping etc,hand to mouth,climbing etc.The use of force via the clenched fist has had many disadvantages.Many men have lost the structure of their knuckles by using excess force in the clenched fist position,striking an object or another human being in anger.Therefore,this article only proves that using the fist is not an evolutionary process. It only goes to prove that physically,man has still not evolved to the extent that he would like to imagine he has.
Comment icon #39 Posted by GirlfromOz 12 years ago
My dad used to watch boxing on tv every weekend
Comment icon #40 Posted by Eldorado 12 years ago
I'd wager that our ancestors best move in a fight was to kick their opponent in the nuts. Same as it is today. (lol)
Comment icon #41 Posted by Hasina 12 years ago
I believe the ability to punch contributed to the current shape of the human hand. Was it the primary reason? No. Was it a contributing factor? Yes.
Comment icon #42 Posted by ExpandMyMind 12 years ago
No one in the paper claimed that it was responsible for the entire shape of the hand (like so many posters above seem to believe). They are only stating that it is responsible for the ability to tightly clench your fists, unlike apes, who cannot.
Comment icon #43 Posted by BaneSilvermoon 12 years ago
I can reasonably see the idea that our fist became capable of clenching as tight as it can in order to protect the fingers, sure. But anything beyond that is silly. It is really easy to break your hand hitting someone with your fist. ^^this. I have a boxers fracture to prove it. Besides, if you want to turn your body into a weapon the forearm or elbow makes a faster, more powerful and more resilient choice. Makes perfect sense as it's still a primitive reflex to punch It's primitive reflex to lash out violently. A close fisted punch is a learned behavior. One that most people don't really know... [More]


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