Are you a monkey or a man? According to a recent study out of the University of Utah, that all depends on how hard you can punch. Compared with apes, humans have shorter palms and fingers and longer, stronger, flexible thumbs – features that have been long thought to have evolved so our ancestors had the manual dexterity to make and use tools.
“The role aggression has played in our evolution has not been adequately appreciated,” says University of Utah biology Professor David Carrier, senior author of the study, published recently in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
As our ancestors evolved, “an individual who could strike with a clenched fist could hit harder without injuring themselves, so they were better able to fight for mates and thus more likely to reproduce,” he says. Fights also were for food, water, land and shelter to support a family, and “over pride, reputation and for revenge,” he adds.