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Title: Right handedness of Homo heidelbergensis from Sima de los Huesos (Atapuerca, Spain) 500,000 years ago
Authors: Lozano Ruiz, Marina
Mosquera Martínez, Marina
Bermúdez de Castro, José María
Arsuaga, Juan Luis
Carbonell, Eudald
Keywords: Hand laterality;Dental microwear;Middle Pleistocene;Homo heidelbergensis;Preneanderthals;Human evolution
Issue Date: Sep-2009
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Evolution and Human Behavior, 2009, 30 (5), 369-376
Abstract: Handedness is a product of brain specialization, which in turn seems to be responsible for the higher cognitive capabilities of humans, such as language and technology. Handedness in living humans is well established and shows the highest degree of manual specialization. Studies on hand laterality in nonhuman primates, particularly in chimpanzees, remain a matter of controversy as results tend to vary depending on factors such as the tasks performed and the environment in which the individuals live. Studies in several disciplines have attempted to determine where in the course of human evolution handedness established itself, with evidence collected from sources such as paleoneurological analyses, stone tool flaking, zooarchaeological studies and dental wear analyses, the last one of which have proven the most reliable source of information. Here we report an experimental and paleoanthropological study on hand laterality of a sample of 28 hominids from Sima de los Huesos (Atapuerca, Spain), dated at about 500,000 years ago, and compare our results with dental microwear analysis in other fossil samples such as that from Krapina (Croatia), as well as modern traditional societies. Our results indicate that European Middle Pleistocene Homo heidelbergensis was already as right-handed as modern populations.
ISSN: 1090-5138
DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2009.03.001
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Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Paleobiología

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