Manual Loading Distribution During Carrying Behaviors: Implications for the Evolution of the Hominin Hand

Key, Alastair J. M. (2016) Manual Loading Distribution During Carrying Behaviors: Implications for the Evolution of the Hominin Hand. PLoS ONE, . ISSN 1932-6203. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0163801) (Full text available)

Abstract

The human hand is unparalleled amongst primates in its ability to manipulate objects forcefully and dexterously. Previous research has predominantly sought to explain the evolution of these capabilities through an adaptive relationship between more modern human-like anatomical features in the upper limb and increased stone tool production and use proficiency. To date, however, we know little about the influence that other manipulatively demanding behaviors may have had upon the evolution of the human hand. The present study addresses one aspect of this deficiency by examining the recruitment of the distal phalanges during a range of manual transportation (i.e. carrying) events related to hominin behavioral repertoires during the Plio-Pleistocene. Specifically, forces on the volar pad of each digit are recorded during the transportation of stones and wooden branches that vary in weight and size. Results indicate that in most instances, the index and middle fingers are recruited to a significantly greater extent than the other three digits during carrying events. Relative force differences between digits were, however, dependent upon the size and weight of the object transported. Carrying behaviors therefore appear unlikely to have contributed to the evolution of the robust thumb anatomy observed in the human hand. Rather, results suggest that the manual transportation of objects may plausibly have influenced the evolution of the human gripping capabilities and the 3rd metacarpal styloid process.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: Manipulation, Hominin, Material Transportation, Functional Anatomy, Experiment
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biological Anthropology
Depositing User: Alastair Key
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2016 07:47 UTC
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2017 10:34 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/57422 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year