So, apparently, I now have you guys trained to send me links about Neanderthals. Which is great. It saves me a lot of time.
Here’s the latest, sent in by a fellow author. (By the way, go buy his book: The Accidental Spy. It’s about a submarine and stuff).
Anyway, this link, “Neanderthals may have used their hands differently from humans,” apart from distinguishing Neanderthals from humans in the title, makes claims that I find impressively modest; you might say, impressively unimpressive. The general idea is that Neanderthals’ thumb bones appear to be a little different from those of modern humans, such that they may have found precision grips a little more difficult. But the article points out that Neanderthals did have a precision grip, and were able to make yarn, thread seashells for jewelry, etc. So, there you go.
As a layperson, it seems to me that these are still guesses based on reconstructing a hand from the bones and using 3-D imaging of how the joints would have worked. Again as a layperson, as far as I can tell, 3-D imaging is just a really sophisticated, computer-aided series of guesses. So it isn’t necessarily accurate. I remember that time that we thought the T-rexes stood upright and put their tails on the ground to support themselves, and then we changed our minds and decided that they ran with their weight leaning forward and the tail stuck out behind for balance.
But, whichever. I have no problem with Neanderthal thumbs being a little bit clumsy, or not a little bit clumsy. I suppose we will find out some day.