Human ancestors may have been capable of using tools much earlier than previously thought.


Scientists said an analysis of fossil hand bones of the species Australopithecus africanus that lived in southern Africa about 3 million to 2 million years ago indicated this human forerunner could use its hands in ways very much like modern people.


This species, known for its mix of ape-like and human-like characteristics, possessed the uniquely human ability to have a power-squeeze grip as needed to wield a hammer and a forceful precision grip as used to turn a key, the study showed.


"Forceful precision grips have been linked specifically to stone tool use and tool making, and so it is possible that Australopithecus africanus was using stone tools as well," said Tracy Kivell of Britain’s University of Kent, who helped lead the study published in the journal Science.


This species appeared roughly a half million years before the first evidence of stone tools. The traditional view of scientists is that a species called Homo habilis that appeared about 2.4 million years ago was the pioneer in stone tool use in the human lineage. (Reuters)



forerunner:名詞,先驅、前兆。例句:Swallows are the forerunners of spring.(燕子現身是春天來臨的前兆。)

wield:動詞,使用、掌握、控制。例句:It is still the rich nations which wield the power.(現在掌握大權的仍是富國。)

grip:名詞,緊抓、抓牢、控制、掌握。例句:You’d better get a grip on yourself.(你最好控制自己的情緒。)


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