Researchers have recently announced that they discovered evidence of an ancient right-handed human. The fossil dates from 1.8 million years ago, and it could be the oldest of its kind. However, the relic does not belong to a Homo sapiens individual, but to a Homo habilis one.
Specialists have recently analyzed fossils belonging to a Homo habilis individual. They couldn’t determine the sex, but the person seemed to use the right hand more often than the left one. Humans are the only species which presents this type of preferences, while other animals use their limbs with no preference.
Previous studies also show evidence of right-handed humans. The preference was dating back to the Neanderthals, about four hundred thirty thousand years ago. The new research suggests that humans used tools and had a better use of their right hand much earlier than that.
The researchers in charged of the new study have been analyzing teeth fossils from a Homo habilis individual. They found strange markings on the fossil jaws and wanted to figure out what they were. Specialists associated them with eating habits.
Experts explain that the early humans used to hold pieces on meat with their mouths and use the left hand to pull the raw meat. At the same time, they used a sharp stone tool to cut a smaller piece with their right hand. Sometimes, the sharp tool would slip, causing them injuries, in particular on the upper jaw. This is how scientists explain the odd marks on the fossils, which are signs of such injuries.
The team of specialists found no less than fifty hundred fifty-nine marks on the fossils. They account for that fact that forty-seven percent of them were caused by injuries using tools with the right hand. However, eleven percent of the old injuries could have been caused while using tools with the left hand, as the specialists suggest.
The new findings apply to only one individual. The researchers believe that if they had more fossils, they could have drawn a parallel. However, they are still interested in the subject. Further analyses would provide them with information on the evolution of right-handed humans.
The first Homo habilis fossils revealed from the very beginning that the individuals were tool makers. Specialists also gave them a suggestive nickname, which is “handy man.”
The study was published in the Journal of Human Evolution.
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