After recent archaeological findings, it can now be said that our early ancestors could potentially use their hands like we do. Even though they might not have the skills or the IQ to develop new tools, their similarity in terms of bone structure reveals that they could use their hands to squeeze grip, which could also mean that they could use their hands like modern humans do.
In contrary to the beliefs that stone tools were used almost 2.6 million years ago, these findings would stretch that time period to nearly 3 million years. The species survived for more than 900,000 years, which is over 4 times humans have spent on this planet.
Senior Lecturer in Biological Anthropology, Dr. Matthew Skinner and Reader in Biological Anthropology, Dr. Tracy Kivell used revolutionary techniques to reveal the way our fossil ancestors used their hands by studying the Trabeculae, which is a spongy internal structure of bone. The Trabecular bone is supposed to be able to remodel itself quickly during its entire life and can give an exact idea of how it was used by the individual during their life.
Earlier considered as fumbling creatures, recent studies conducted upon the fossils of Australopithecus africanus suggests that their hands could be used for precision gripping. Their bone structure has been found to be similar to ours in many ways. For instance, just like humans, Australopithecus africanus had spongy bones at the base of the thumb and in the knuckles of the third and fifth finger.
This also means that we can no longer consider Homo habilis to be our first ancestors able to use tools. However, Australopithecus africanus were not tool makers, even though they could use variety of stone tools for many purposes such as cutting. Their children grew rapidly after birth and could reach adulthood before modern humans can.