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The Human Thumb Just Got 500,000 Years Older

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Researchers used 3D modeling software to reconstruct ancient hands and then added the critical human thumb muscle to the model.

Researchers studying the fossilized hands of 2-million-year-old hominins have concluded that human thumbs back then had the same movement ranges as our thumbs have today. However, whether the human thumb is the solution to the origins of human “dexterity,” is another question altogether.

Let’s say you sent me a text message and a moment later I send you this emoji symbol as a reply “.” You immediately know I disapprove of the content of your message. Right? However, the emoji used to express approval or praise, meaning “good,” “great job,” and “beautiful,” is the thumbs-up gesture emoji “.” And we all know how this one makes us feel because it means “+1,” or “up,” with positive connotations.

In the real world, however, it was the “dexterity” in part offered by the human thumb that enabled us to overpower all other species on earth.

Until now, the ancient origins of the human thumb, and dexterity, have always been tightly locked archaeological mysteries. By 3D modelling the muscle movement range in ancient, fossilized thumbs, a team of German researchers has concluded that it was about 2 million years ago that our early human ancient ancestors first developed this key survival tool: “.” – Reconstructing the story of humanity’s past


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