Hand of Paranthropus robustus from Member 1, Swartkrans: fossil evidence for tool behavior

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Science  06 May 1988:
Vol. 240, Issue 4853, pp. 781-784
DOI: 10.1126/science.3129783


New hand fossils from Swartkrans (dated at about 1.8 million years ago) indicate that the hand of Paranthropus robustus was adapted for precision grasping. Functional morphology suggests that Paranthropus could have used tools, possibly for plant procurement and processing. The new fossils further suggest that absence of tool behavior was not responsible for the demise of the "robust" lineage. Conversely, these new fossils indicate that the acquisition of tool behavior does not account for the emergence and success of early Homo.

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