Today, our beliefs are being tested with the revealing of an almost two million year old bone from the little finger. The bone, which is most accurately approximated at being 1.85 million years old, seems to contain new information about the evolution of man, a most interesting feature that fascinates scientists worldwide.
They claim that this bone “pushes a key step of our evolution back in time”, somewhere in between our up rise from tree-huggers and hunters with “specialized” weaponry.
Moreover, the bone suggests that there might have existed a larger, humanoid creature that could have lived in modern-day Tanzania and of whose existence we were not fully aware of until this day.
The hand is a unique feature that distinguishes humans from other creatures. Revealing a small part of it, especially an old part, can allow us to more accurately inspect our evolution, not only to see what we have become, but to know exactly where we came from.
This bone can teach us about previous behaviors, habits, limitations and conditions that humans needed to face two million years ago in order to survive. Moreover, our hands are the key to our evolution, since they enabled us to climb down from the trees, use tools, hunt and invent.
If we were to compare the bone to a modern-day one, we would easily observe that it belonged to a larger specimen and this knowledge is “forcing” us to push the modern hand back 400 thousand years.
The “modern” hand has a specific set of characteristics that make it special compared to the previous “versions” we are aware of.
A longer thumb, for example, allowed us to open our hands to a larger extent and enabled us to grab things with greater precision. The straightened phalanges are also a key feature, since the curved ones were specialized for climbing trees or other steep surfaces.
Why this new bone represents such a remarkable discovery is because it enables a debate as to which of our relatives exactly were the ones who started using their hands for erecting buildings or forging weapons.
And it does not stop here. This bone actually proves that there was another creature with human-like features lurking around the planet two million years ago. We were never aware of this creature’s presence until now.
It remains to be seen what archeologists will make of this new discovery. But until then, a new question remains on the lips of many researchers: did we miss one of our ancestors?
Photo Credits abc.net.au