Link: My essay on hand evolution and the origin of humans

less than 1 minute read

Last year I published an essay in Nautilus, titled “Are humans the greatest things created by the human hand?”. The article has been making the rounds on social media this week, so I thought others might be interested in seeing the link again:

Psychologists studying learning in human children and chimpanzee juveniles have found that a key difference between our two species is the ability to share attention jointly with another, more experienced individual. When a mother holds a toy in her hands and names it, the child can learn that word. When a mother points at the toy later on, the child will understand. By directing attention with our hands, early humans may have laid the groundwork for spoken language.
And now, we type and text.

The first part of the essay considers the way that Homo habilis was interpreted as the first hominin with humanlike hands, and the shift brought by the humanlike hand of Australopithecus sediba.