Neanderthals were right handed… Should we be surprised?
An article in science news this week puts forward the argument for population level Neanderthal right handedness based on stone tool scratch patterns on the front teeth of 500,000 and 30,000 year old Neanderthal remains. It’s a nice find but shouldn’t be all that surprising given the findings about ape handedness published earlier this month (see one of my earlier posts: https://confusedious.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/how-human-is-handedness/). If all extant African apes display population level right handedness (us included of course) then it is no surprise at all that one of our closest extinct cousins would as well. I don’t think I’m going out on much of a limb to suspect that the shared common ancestor of all extant African apes had at least a tendency toward right handedness, in fact this is what was implied in my previous post on the matter.