Foot provides clue to the evolution of human hand!
April 28, 2010
Is the mystery about the evolution of the human hand solved?
Scientists from Canada may have solved the mystery of how human hands became nimble enough to make and manipulate stone tools – it may be a side-effect of evolutionary changes in our feet!
A BBC report describes that the discussion continues – for other scientists now question the mathematical model which was used to simulate the changes between the hands & feet of chimpanzees and humans. Campbell Rolian, a scientist from the University of Calgary described:
“This goes back to Darwin’s The Descent of Man. “[Charles Darwin] was among the first to consider the relationship between stone tool technology and bipedalism.”
“His idea was that they were separate events and they happened sequentially – that bipedalism freed the hand to evolve for other purposes.”
“What we showed was that the changes in the hand and foot are similar developments… and changes in one would have side-effects manifesting in the other.”
“So, if you have a long big toe, you tend have a long thumb.”
“One reason fingers and toes may be so strongly correlated is that they share a similar genetic and developmental ‘blueprint’, and small changes to this blueprint can affect the hand and foot in parallel. We used the mathematical model to simulate the evolutionary pressures on the hands and feet.”
SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:
The primate foot & the human foot.