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1.4 Million-Year-Old Human Hand Bone Found In Kenya

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A new hand bone from a human ancestor who roamed the earth in East Africa approximately 1.42 million years ago has been found at the 'Kaitio' site in West Turkana, Kenya. 

Humans have a distinctive hand anatomy that allows us to make and use tools. Apes and other non-human primates do not have these distinctive anatomical features in their hands, and the point in time at which these features first appeared in human evolution is unknown.

The researchers suspect the bone belonged to the early human species, Homo erectus, making this bone is the earliest evidence of a modern human-like hand and indicating that this anatomical feature existed more than half a million years earlier than previously known.  "This bone is the third metacarpal in the hand, which connects to the middle finger," said Carol Ward, professor of pathology and anatomical sciences at the University of Missouri. The discovery was made by a West Turkana Paleo Project team, led by Ward's colleague and co-author Fredrick Manthi of the National Museums of Kenya. "What makes this bone so distinct is that the presence of a styloid process, or projection of bone, at the end that connects to the wrist. Until now, this styloid process has been found only in us, Neandertals and other archaic humans."



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