Scientists have long believed that the human species is the most evolved, based on their physical traits. However, a recent study published in the journal Nature Communication has helped identify some of the traits that make human hands primitive in respect to those of the chimps.
The human species is, no doubt, more evolved in respect to other species, but scientists have recently discovered that some of their body elements might still hold primitive elements. It is also the case of the human hands, whom scientists have now labeled as underdeveloped, based on a recent comparison with the hands of chimps and orangutans.
In addition the modern day samples have been compared to the ones of more ancient exemplars, such as, Proconsul heseloni and the human ancestors belonging to Ardipithecus ramidus and Australopithecus sediba.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers from Stony Brook University, in collaboration with Paleobiology Professor, Sergio Almécija and authors Jeroen Smaers and William Jungers. For the purpose of the current study, scientists have analyzed and compared the hands of the chimps, orangutans and humans to determine how each and every one has evolved and to pinpoint the differences between them.
After the careful analysis of the database, scientists have reached the conclusion that certain traits make human hands more primitive than the ones of the chimps and orangutans. On the other hand, gorillas are just as developed, as a species, as human beings – a finding that was confirmed by the research at the Stone Brook University.
Humans have rather long thumbs, was the conclusion that scientists have reached after the said comparison. In the case of the chimps, thumbs are shorter, but the other four fingers are much longer and slimmer. While humans have opposable fingers, chimps’ thumbs are not good for grips, but they can be much more flexible during the performance of various activities.
These characteristics have helped species evolve in the forms we know them today. Humans and simians have acquired different body and behavioral particularities, based on these physical features. Gorillas can climb trees, even though they rarely actually sit there, the majority of them being terrestrial exemplars like humans.
Based on the results of the recent study, scientists have managed to challenge the initial hypothesis claiming that the human species is the most evolved compared to other living beings. The longer thumb is a primitive anatomical feature that humans have been preserving for millions of years, similar to the appendix.
Researchers will further study the subject to determine how this primitive trait has influenced the evolution of humans and whether it has benefits or disadvantages for our modern day activities.
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