Humans have always been overwhelmingly right-handed. We still aren’t sure why.

| | May 31, 2018

Nine out of 10 humans are considered right-handed. “It doesn’t matter where you find them, humans have that ratio,” says retired University of Kansas anthropologist David Frayer.

Fossils reveal that right-handedness goes much further back in our evolutionary story than once believed. Recent research has shown that handedness and language do not, er, go hand in hand, at least in the way we once thought. And in 2017, neuroscientists suggested that the origin of handedness is not even in the brain.

Frayer and his colleagues have been able to analyze samples from across our genus. The oldest specimen, 1.8 million years old from Tanzania, belonged to H. habilis: the earliest member of the genus Homo and at least four times older than our own species.

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In December, Frayer’s team published a study in Evolutionary Anthropology that confirmed finding the same 9-1 ratio of handedness across the hominin fossil record as in modern human populations. It destroyed the idea that H. sapiens is uniquely right-handed.

Frayer notes that even with nearly 2 million years of hominin handedness in the fossil record, uncertainty about its causes and consequences remains: “The key thing is that we know right-handedness is commonly found in all populations [of our species] and that it differs from what we find in chimps. To go any further is risky.”

Read full, original post: Was Science Wrong About Being Right?

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