Links between the modern human hand and stone tool behaviors have become nearly axiomatic in evolutionary hypotheses throughout the anthropological literature: the anatomy of the modern human hand (and forelimb) represents a selective response to the biomechanical demands of stone tool production and use. This hypothesis has been supported by certain aspects of the fossil and archaeological records, as well as by nearly a century of experimental data. However, closer inspection in recent years has revealed cracks in the foundation of some parts of this argument, as well as significant gaps in data necessary to assess this hypothesis.
This talk by Erin Marie Williams-Hatala reviews and evaluates the hypothetical relationship between the modern human hand and stone tool behaviors, focusing on the experimental evidence that has been generated in the 21st century. Future directions are considered in light of technological advancements and lingering experimental constraints.
Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.