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Fossilized Jaw in Tanzania is the Oldest Evidence of a Right Handed Homo Habilis

Oct 22, 2016 11:31 AM EDT
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A group of researchers from the University of Kansas has found the oldest evidence of a right-handed person, and it's not a Homo sapiens but a Homo habilis.

The study, published in the Journal of Human Evolution, says that researchers have discovered a fossilized jaw, known as OH-65, from a Homo habilis in the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania. Dating 1.8 million years ago, this is the oldest evidence on the evolution of right-handedness in human beings.

The researchers determined that the jaw belonged to a right-handed Homo habilis by analyzing groves or labial striations on the lip side of the anterior teeth, which slanted downward from left to right.

Read: Did Anthropologists Crack the Terrifying Reason Behind Mysterious Death of Lucy?

"We think that tells us something further about lateralization of the brain. We already know that Homo habilis had brain lateralization and was more like us than like apes. This extends it to handedness, which is key," said David Frayer, a professor emeritus from Kansas University and lead author of the study, via Science Daily.

This means that the Homo habilis used a stone tool with his right hand and gripped food in between his anterior teeth. The marks were from the said tool, which would occasionally strike the labial face.

Read: First Human Ever Possibly Discovered in Ethiopia

This stunning discovery could lead to more analysis on the marks present on other Homo fossils to understand more about the origins of our genus and how language and cortal reorganization developed among humans.

"We predict that right-handedness, cortical reorganization and language capacity will be shown to be important components in the origin of our genus," Frazer said. "We think we have the evidence for brain lateralization, handedness and possibly language, so maybe it all fits together in one picture."

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