Scientific Methods

Tuesday, April 18, 2006




The hand of the African Ape was uncovered at the cave of Sterkfontein, South Africa, by Dr Ron Clarke and his assistants.  It was a hand of Australopithecus.  According to palaeomagnetic analysis, they indicated that the creature must have died at least three comma three million years ago.  The team of Dr Clarke used the stalagmites in the curve to get more accurate dating for when the skeletal remains were laid down.

The hand and arm were not removed after discovering.  They are still encased in the rocks even today but they will be removed for laboratory. The hand was believed to give the new insight into Australopithecus behavior, anatomy and also to tell something about how humans hands and arms evolved.  Clarke was on yet prepared to say which species belong to; he said that it does appear to be an australopithecine.  The fingers were curved like those of Australopithecus afarensis indicating that they were probably used to climbing.  The arrangement of bones indicated that the left arm stretched above the head with the fingers clenched. Clarke has believed that the hominid spent most of time in the trees.  The view was strengthened by nature of the bones which were discovered.

Dr Clarke believed that excavation at the lower level will eventually lead to the discovery of the rest of the skeleton.  And in particular the upper part of the thigh bones.  It will be simple to compare the leg length and arm length. This will also help to compare with modern apes which have long arms with relative to leg length.  Because the hand bones of the skeleton are similar length to that of the modern humans but the thumb are powerful constructed.


Masiya Kedibone
CSIR Pretoria
Cell No : 073 2519071
Tel No: 012 8412123
Fax : 012 842 3676


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