The hand of Homo naledi
Tracy L. Kivell, Andrew S. Deane, Matthew W. Tocheri, Caley M. Orr, Peter Schmid, John Hawks, Lee R. Berger & Steven E. Churchill
Affiliations Contributions Corresponding author
Nature Communications 6, Article number: 8431 doi:10.1038/ncomms9431
Received 26 January 2015 Accepted 20 August 2015 Published 06 October 2015
A nearly complete right hand of an adult hominin was recovered from the Rising Star cave system, South Africa. Based on associated hominin material, the bones of this hand are attributed to Homo naledi. This hand reveals a long, robust thumb and derived wrist morphology that is shared with Neandertals and modern humans, and considered adaptive for intensified manual manipulation. However, the finger bones are longer and more curved than in most australopiths, indicating frequent use of the hand during life for strong grasping during locomotor climbing and suspension. These markedly curved digits in combination with an otherwise human-like wrist and palm indicate a significant degree of climbing, despite the derived nature of many aspects of the hand and other regions of the postcranial skeleton in H. naledi.
Subject terms: Biological sciences Evolution Palaeontology
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