Right-handedness existed more than 500K years ago

April 20th, 2011 - 2:37 pm ICT by ANI  

London, April 20 (ANI): Right-handedness, a distinctively human characteristic that has right-handers outnumbering lefties nine-to-one, goes back more than 500,000 years, according to a scientist at the University of Kansas.

For the findings, David Frayer, professor of anthropology at the University and lead author of the study, used markings on fossilized front teeth.

His research established that distinctive markings on fossilized teeth correlate to the right or left-handedness of individual prehistoric humans.

“The patterns seen on the fossil teeth are directly and consistently produced by right or left hand manipulation in experimental work,” said Frayer.

The oldest teeth studied by him come from a more than 500,000-year-old chamber known as Sima de los Huesos near Burgos, Spain, containing the remains of humans believed to be ancestors of European Neandertals. Other teeth come from later Neandertal populations in Europe.

“These marks were produced when a stone tool was accidentally dragged across the labial face in an activity performed at the front of the mouth,” he said.

“The heavy scoring on some of the teeth indicates the marks were produced over the lifetime of the individual and are not the result of a single cutting episode,” according to Frayer.

Overall, Frayer and his co-authors found right-handedness in 93.1 percent of individuals sampled from the Sima de los Huesos and European Neandertal sites.

“This establishes that handedness is found in more than just recent Homo sapiens,” he concluded.

The study was published this month in the British journal Laterality. (ANI)

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Health Science |