Oldest humanlike hand bone discovered | Science News

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Oldest humanlike hand bone discovered

Found at Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge, pinkie bone is 1.84 million years old

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11:00am, August 18, 2015

OLD BUT MODERN  A newly discovered hominid finger bone dating to at least 1.84 million years ago is shown from two sides (right) and overlaid on a modern human hand (left).  A team of scientists regards the fossil as the oldest known humanlike hand bone.

Excavations at Tanzania’s famed Olduvai Gorge have uncovered the oldest known fossil hand bone resembling those of people today. The bone from a hominid’s left pinkie finger dates to at least 1.84 million years ago and looks more like corresponding bones of modern humans than like finger fossils of previously discovered Olduvai hominids, say paleoanthropologist Manuel Domínguez-Rodrigo of Complutense University in Madrid and his colleagues.

This ancient hominid’s entire hand probably looked humanlike, the researchers propose August 18 in Nature Communications. An Olduvai hominid with humanlike hands would have been capable of making stone tools, they say.

The new finger fossil is more humanlike than comparably ancient Olduvai hand fossils from Homo habilis, or handy man, and Paranthropus boisei, or Nutcracker Man, the scientists find.    

H. habilis 

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