A new study suggests that hands evolved not only for dexterity but also for punching. The study was conducted at the University of Utah and studied men hitting punching bags. Researchers concluded that the size and shape of hands evolved so men could form fists and fight.
Researchers looked at two different facets of human fists. First, that the fists cause more harm to opponents and secondly that a clenched fist shields the delicate bones, muscles, and tendons, according to Yahoo News. Additionally, when comparing human and ape hands, the humans have shorter palms and longer, stronger, and more flexible thumbs. This was originally believed to have evolved for manual dexterity and making tools.
The University of Utah biology professor, David Carrier, said this finding could be an answer to evolutionary questions concerning humans and violence, according to The Daily Mail. Carriers said:
“The role aggression has played in our evolution has not been adequately appreciated.There are people who do not like this idea, but it is clear that, compared with other mammals, great apes are a relatively aggressive group, with lots of fighting and violence, and that includes us. We’re the poster children for violence. Our anatomy holds clues to that question. If we can understand what our anatomy has evolved to do, we’ll have a clearer picture of who we were in the beginning, and whether aggression is part of who we are.”
Carrier agrees that hands did evolve for manual dexterity but said, “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.”