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Paleoanthropology: Tracing the Identity of the First Toolmakers

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Science  04 Apr 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5309, pp. 32
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5309.32

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Who were the first toolmakers? For years, scientists pondering which hominid species were capable of making tools have relied on a simple test based on anatomical traits in the human thumb. Now new work reported at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in St. Louis suggests that data from the whole hand are needed to identify toolmakers--and that the human hand was evolving to accommodate tool use as far back as 3.3 million years ago.