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Human-like gripping capabilities 500,000 years ago

Research links a stone tool production technique known as 'platform preparation' to the biology of human hands, demonstrating that without the ability to perform highly forceful precision grips, our ancestors would not have been able to produce advanced stone tools like spear points.

Platform preparation is essential for making many different types of advanced prehistoric stone tool, with the earliest known occurrence observed at the 500,000-year-old site of Boxgrove in West Sussex (UK). The technique involves preparing a striking area on a tool to remove specific stone flakes and shape the tool into a preconceived design.

The study was carried out by the University of Kent's School of Anthropology and Conservation, and funded by the British Academy, investigated how hands are used during the production of different types of early stone technology.


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