ISLAMABAD: An almost two-million-year-old finger bone, unearthed in East Africa, suggests modern humans evolved earlier than previously thought, scientists say.
The 1.85-million-year-old little finger bone, dubbed OH 86, was found at the Olduvai Gorge paleontological site in northern Tanzania and is believed by scientists to belong to an unidentified ancient hominin species, Daily Mail reported.
The discovery pushes back the origin of the modern-human-like hand-ideal for grasping tools but inadequate for climbing trees- by around 400,000 years.
“This bone belongs to somebody who’s not spending any time in the trees at all,” says the study’s lead author Manuel Dominguez-Rodrigo.
The pinky provides further information about the descent of pre-human hominins from the trees to the ground, and belongs to a transitionary species between Homo sapiens and smaller species like Homo habilis and Paranthropus boisei.
Based on the bone, researchers presume that species was likely around 180 centimeters tall whereas Homo habilis was only about 90 centimeters tall.
“This provides good evidence supporting the hypothesis that, by about 2 million years ago, our early ancestors lost the anatomy linked to our tree- climbing past,” Brian Richmond, an anthropologist with the American Museum of Natural History in New York, told UPI.