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Our hands are more primitive than a chimp's

Posted on Wednesday, 15 July, 2015 | Comment icon 17 comments

Our hands appear to be less evolved than those of chimpanzees. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Jaysin Trevino
Contrary to popular belief, human hands are not as evolved as those of our closest living relatives.
Our ability to grip and manipulate objects with great finesse would seem to suggest that our hands are highly evolved - far more so than chimpanzees or any other living primate.

According to a new study however it turns out that our hand proportions have changed very little from that of our last common ancestor while the hands of chimpanzees have evolved significantly.

"The findings suggest that the structure of the modern human hand is largely primitive in nature, rather than, as some believe, the result of more recent changes necessary for stone tool-making," said Kurtis Hiatt from The George Washington University.

This does not mean that the structure of our hands is disadvantageous - chimpanzees for instance do not possess opposable thumbs which is something we rely on, but from a purely evolutionary perspective our hands represent a much more primitive anatomical structure.

"Humans have only slightly modified finger and thumb lengths since their last common ancestor," said anthropologist Dr Sergio Almecija. "This probably occurred with the advent of habitual bipedalism in hominins, and almost certainly preceded regular stone culture."

Source: | Comments (17)

Tags: Hands, Chimpanzee

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #8 Posted by Infernal Gnu on 16 July, 2015, 2:01
We have OPPOSABLE THUMBS, that is HUGE! They will never be able to play the guitar as brilliantly as some of us can! They cannot keep the fretboard steady while making chord progressions.
Comment icon #9 Posted by DieChecker on 16 July, 2015, 2:27
Isn't this like saying that dragonflies, which have been around a LOT longer then either humans, or chimps, who have not changed much in 300+ million years, are less evolved then most kinds of butterfly? When something works well already nature doesn't force it to change. This really only means that chimps were deficient over the time in question, not that they are in any way superior. Evolution doesn't make things superior, it makes them more adapted to their lifestyle. Evidently chimps used to be less adapted to where they now live.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Imaginarynumber1 on 16 July, 2015, 4:44
Chimp hands are more derived than a humans. Evolution has no direction. Nothing is more or less evolved than something else.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Junior Chubb on 16 July, 2015, 9:36
Good thing our brains are 'more evolved' than those pesky chimps... Its my brain that tells me this research is sound (despite the dubious use of the word 'more') but it is Jennifer Viegas' reporting of this research and choice of attention grabbing article title that lets it down.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Harte on 16 July, 2015, 10:12
Utter nonsense. Chimp hands have become better adapted for life as a Chimpanzee. One might as well say a greyhound is more evolved than a chihuahua because it's long legs are better for running. Except neither dog evolved. Harte
Comment icon #13 Posted by Hammerclaw on 16 July, 2015, 15:29
Except neither dog evolved. Harte Neither has the chimpanzee. Over time it has become more specialized by natural selection. By selective breeding, man exploits that same genetic potential in dogs.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Harte on 16 July, 2015, 21:26
Yeah, but their build is artificially imposed, not evolved. It was a poor analogy. There's nothing more "advanced" about changes in bone structure or whatever when it's the result of evolution, though, so your point was valid. Harte
Comment icon #15 Posted by Hammerclaw on 17 July, 2015, 1:43
Yeah, but their build is artificially imposed, not evolved. It was a poor analogy. There's nothing more "advanced" about changes in bone structure or whatever when it's the result of evolution, though, so your point was valid. Harte Yeah, well the author doesn't seem to understand the difference between evolution and adaptive radiation.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Harte on 17 July, 2015, 10:10
Yeah, well the author doesn't seem to understand the difference between evolution and adaptive radiation. Quite so. Therefore it doesn't matter anyway and I was nit picking. Harte
Comment icon #17 Posted by grandfunkrailroad on 29 July, 2015, 19:46
Nice for them, it helps (especially when you have to vote, and got that red pencil in your right hand whilst trying to open that huge pile of paper in your left)

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