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Human hand evolved for fighting


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#1 DocM

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 08:28

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LA Times....

Why are our hands the shape that they are? Compared with those of other apes, the thumb is longer and the palms and fingers are short. Scientist have a variety of ideas as to why they evolved to be that way:

--The comparatively longer thumb allows us so much more dexterity, permitting us to make tools.

--The proportions of the hand may be the indirect consequence of natural selection for a foot with a long toe, so handy for keeping balance while walking. (Hand and foot development occur along very similar lines, and many of the same molecules are involved. That means natural selection for one would affect development of the other as well.)

Researchers at the University of Utah have another suggestion: The hand is the shape that it is because it allows us to make a nice fist for fighting that protects key parts of the hand from harm.

The proposal, made by student Michael Morgan and biologist David Carrier, was published in the Journal of Experimental Biology. The duo tested their hypothesis in a series of experiments in which men pounded punching bags, squeezed pressure sensors or performed one-handed push-ups on top of pressure sensors. From this, the scientists learned that force meted out by the hand is about the same when a bag is punched by a fist versus slapped, but nearly twice as great when you consider that the fist delivers its force to a smaller surface area. The study also found that the knuckle joint of the index finger is rendered stiffer and more stable -- transfering force more effectively and protecting the hand -- when a tight fist is made.

In other words, the fist is a dandy fighting tool.

Here’s a summary of the article at the journal site and the scholarly paper itself.

The duo isn’t saying that the advantages of manual dexterity and selection for a different foot shape played no part in hand evolution -- just that fighting may have done so as well.

And, they write, “there appears to be a paradox in the evolution of the human hand. It is arguably our most important anatomical weapon, used to threaten, beat and sometimes kill to resolve a conflict. Yet it is also the part of our musculoskeletal system that crafts and uses delicate tools, plays musical instruments, produces art, conveys complex intentions and emotions, and nurtures.”

You could imagine a lot of hand shapes that could do one of those two skill sets well, they write. “There may, however, be only one set of skeletal proportions that allows the hand to function both as a mechanism for precise manipulation and as a club for striking.”




#2 XerXis

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 08:40

That seems very far fetched

#3 HawkMan

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 11:19

That seems very far fetched


why ?

pretty much every animal on earth has evolved for either fighting/killing or defense, or a mix of both.

#4 Detection

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 11:29

"that protects key parts of the hand from harm."

Martial arts use much more of the hand / palm etc

Bitch slaps use the back of the hand :p

#5 OP DocM

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 11:48

That seems very far fetched


Ever boxed?

Just toolmaking & dextrous manipulation can be done with just 3 digits, as proven by numerous experiments in robotics and by experienced amputees, but it takes > 3 to make the efficient living club we call a fist.

#6 ahhell

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 12:05

Ever boxed?

Just toolmaking & dextrous manipulation can be done with just 3 digits, as proven by numerous experiments in robotics and by experienced amputees, but it takes > 3 to make the efficient living club we call a fist.


:rolleyes:
Ever see monkeys box? NO.
bull**** article is bull****.

#7 Soldiers33

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 12:25

Except we never evolved this is how we was made. What will the say next? that our arses evolved to sit on them?

#8 Detection

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 12:29

Except we never evolved this is how we was made. What will the say next? that our arses evolved to sit on them?


Yep, our ancient ancestors used them to talk with, you can tell because some people still do

#9 BillyJack

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 12:53

It makes sense. Look at other animals, they all have teeth and claws to use but we have our hands so that we can use our tools. Just keep in mind that if you get in a fight with a bear you better use a tool and not your fist.

#10 Enron

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 13:05

:rolleyes:
Ever see monkeys box? NO.
bull**** article is bull****.


Never seen a monkey box, but my cat boxes all the time.

#11 HawkMan

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 13:54

All animals, including us have 5 digits though. we just happen to have ours shaped with the thumb opposing. (and yes there are some animals that have 4 or 6, but they actually have 5 if you look at the bone structure, they have just evolved them away and added them)

#12 threetonesun

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 14:01

Ever boxed?

Just toolmaking & dextrous manipulation can be done with just 3 digits, as proven by numerous experiments in robotics and by experienced amputees, but it takes > 3 to make the efficient living club we call a fist.


Ever fought a monkey?

Evolution clearly did not decide we'd be great tool makers and gentleman boxers as well. You might as well argue that our hands were "designed" for playing heavy metal guitar.

#13 OP DocM

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 17:06

If you read the article they mention that key to our use of the hand as a weapon va. our primate cousins are changes in the proportions of, alignment of and proportions of digits that allow the making of an efficient fist. Some of these are largely irrelevant to fine motor manipulation.

#14 Buttus

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 17:15

i'm still upset at the monkey that decided that we didn't need tails and evolved into not having one....

stupid monkey! i want my tail back!

#15 ahhell

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 17:20

" the scientists learned that force meted out by the hand is about the same when a bag is punched by a fist versus slapped, but nearly twice as great when you consider that the fist delivers its force to a smaller surface area."

WTF? They had to do "research" to find that out?

What nonsense.