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Your Hands Were Made For Punching According To New Study 240

Posted by samzenpus
from the here's-something-for-your-eye dept.
They are capable of delicate surgery, creating beautiful works of art, and comforting someone feeling down, but according to a new study your hands evolved to smash someone in the face. From the article: "Human hands evolved so that men could make fists and fight, and not just for manual dexterity, new research finds. The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, adds to a growing body of evidence that humans are among the most aggressive and violent animals on the planet. 'With the notable exception of bonobos, great apes are a relatively aggressive group of mammals,' lead author David Carrier told Discovery News. 'Although some primatologists may argue that chimpanzees are the most aggressive apes, I think the evidence suggests that humans are substantially more violent.''"
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Your Hands Were Made For Punching According To New Study

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  • by colinrichardday (768814) <colin.day.6@hotmail.com> on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:43PM (#42355969)

    Not for jacking off?

  • by Jetra (2622687) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:46PM (#42355985)
    Now I know why I have the urge to punch stupid people in the face.
  • Fist walking (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tepples (727027) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [selppet]> on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:47PM (#42355987) Homepage Journal
    Was it for punching foes, or was it for punching the ground [youtube.com] before bipedalism became the norm? Orangutans, for example, walk on their fists [youtube.com].
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:15AM (#42356131)

      The point of walking was to free up the hands to punch more people. Just like the point of jumping was to do scissors kicks to the neck. Cause that's just awesome.

    • Re:Fist walking (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:37AM (#42356283) Homepage

      It wasn't "for" anything.

      In terms of the size and shape of hand anatomy, the scientists point out that humans could have evolved manual dexterity with longer thumbs, but without the fingers and palms getting shorter.

      What a bunch of nonsense. You postulate something on the basis of a weak anatomical correlate study and then you open it up to an evolutionary mechanism. There isn't anything to suggest that reproductive fitness (the thing that drives evolution) has anything to do with punching out competitors.

      I see your fist and raise the ante with a club.

      • Re:Fist walking (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Half-pint HAL (718102) on Friday December 21, 2012 @05:02AM (#42357465)

        There isn't anything to suggest that reproductive fitness (the thing that drives evolution) has anything to do with punching out competitors.

        You've never watched stags or bulls in mating season then....

      • Re:Fist walking (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Knuckles (8964) <knuckles AT dantian DOT org> on Friday December 21, 2012 @06:58AM (#42357965)

        Absolutely. Also, study author should watch less movies and punch someone for real. He will realize that human hands are really bad for punching, you get open bleeding knuckles in no time, and injuries if your fists and arms are misaligned. It's not an accident that martial arts that use punches spend a lot of practice to getting it right, and many don't use closed-fist punches with exposed first phalanges at all.

        • Re:Fist walking (Score:4, Insightful)

          by aurispector (530273) on Friday December 21, 2012 @09:08AM (#42358587)

          Agreed. The conclusions are idiotic. Punching something isn't nearly as effective as bashing something over the head with a rock.

          Look at all the things for which modern humans use their thumbs. It's a multifunction device and whether your talking tool use or weapon use, thumbs made our species much more likely to survive.

        • by dywolf (2673597)

          If you get open bleeding knuckles you're doing it wrong. Doesnt take long to develop the calluses and shrunken knuckles that deliver a more powerful impact. And if predecessors did knuckle walk, they would have naturally developed both features. And something tells me, if your mating rights a million ago depended on being able to hit, you would probably spend more time "learning" than martial artists today do, and learn it quicker.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Fifty years of martial arts experience here - the human body has a lot of armor and can take more punishment than the occasional KTFO video might indicate. Against armored targets, a punch can be as ruinous to the puncher as to the one being punched. In a fluid situation, it can be difficult to deliver an accurate, solid punch without injury to yourself. (This is why, although I teach beginners to punch to give themselves a sense of "power", for actual fighting, I don't use punching.)

          The study showing peak

      • by dywolf (2673597)

        40 ton humpback whales leap out of the water and body slam each either in competition over females, sometimes causing fatal internal injuries.
        Hippos fight each other mating rights, sometimes fatally slicing each others necks open with their tusks.

        So yeah. There is nothing to suggest that reproductive fitness has anything to do with punching out competitors. Not a thing. Nope. Females never select only the agressive winner to breed with.

    • Re:Fist walking (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Fned (43219) on Friday December 21, 2012 @02:33AM (#42356889) Journal

      Orangutans are the only great ape that walks like that, though, and they're primarily brachiators. Chimps and gorillas walk on the second knuckle rather than the first.

  • by hduff (570443) <hoytduff AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:48PM (#42356003) Homepage Journal

    Then arms were made for masturbation. Otherwise why would they not be that length? If they were made for punching, they would be very much longer to minimize the risk to oneself from an attacker. Hands were then made for masturbation as well, otherwise why put them at the end of the perfect length of arm?

    • Perfect length of arm? It's not. I'm not going to do any literature research while I'm sitting in my workplace, but I believe there are repetitive strain injuries linked to masturbation, because it involves abusing several joints....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:51PM (#42356009)

    Context is important. Violence is not ubiquitous. See this:7 Things Bonobos Can Teach Us About Love and Sex
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sex-dawn/201202/7-things-bonobos-can-teach-us-about-love-and-sex

  • As a boxer... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ihatewinXP (638000) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:54PM (#42356023)

    From years of boxing this couldnt be more obvious.

    Your hands will fracture, break, bend, and sometimes emulsify... Especially the forefinger middle knuckle and the top pinky knuckle = 'the boxer break.' Over and over.

    But each time calcifying over and becoming stronger. After a while you literally have 'hands of stone.'

    Now of course my dexterity isnt what it used to be. Typing and fumbling for computer screws reminds me of my favorite pastime often.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      mishandling relatively short, small diameter, objects reminds you of your favourite pastime ............ just ewwww

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Bullshit, your fists are not properly adapted to bare knuckle boxing, which is what TFS implies. The human face has tons of small muscles, each muscle is anchored by tiny bone ridges. The skull itself is adapted to handle whatever knocks it takes.

      So, what you end up with is breaking your fingers and similar damage. If you really must hit somebody in the face, you do that with the heal of your hand which is much sturdier than your knuckles anyways. It's braced for times when you fall forward and need to use

    • by jbov (2202938)

      After a while you figuratively have 'hands of stone.'

      FTFY

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Cut him some slack, he's been hit in the head few times.
      • by databeast (19718)

        Calcium isn't a stone now? he said literally, he meant literally.

        • Re:As a boxer... (Score:4, Informative)

          by wierd_w (1375923) on Friday December 21, 2012 @07:10AM (#42358005)

          Bone is a calcium phosphate complex bound with protein molecules, which form an extracellular matrix. Calcium is an alkaline earth metal. Phosphorus is a nonmetal, and oxygen is a gas. Calcium phosphate, all by itself, is a mineral which usualy only forms under unusual and arrid conditions.

          The calcium phosphate complex that comprises bone cannot be classified as a mineral, because it is formed via a biological process. (Similar caveat for coal. Not a mineral.) /pedant

    • by The Moof (859402)
      I disagree. It's way too easy for me to injure or break my hand by simply throwing a punch. Not to mention injuring my wrist. And afterward, the full use of my hand might not be the same (you even mentioned the loss of dexterity as a result of your boxing).

      These lead me to believe that hands weren't intended for punching stuff. There's way too much technique required so I don't hurt myself (and even technique isn't enough, which is where the taping comes in).
    • Re:As a boxer... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by phantomfive (622387) on Friday December 21, 2012 @03:41AM (#42357129) Journal

      Your hands will fracture, break, bend, and sometimes emulsify... Especially the forefinger middle knuckle and the top pinky knuckle = 'the boxer break.' Over and over.

      Strange, I would take this as evidence that our hands are NOT evolved for punching, but rather that our bodies are amazingly adaptable to what we put them through.

      It's hard to see the thumb as an adaptation used for fighting, as the article suggests.

      • by azalin (67640)

        It's hard to see the thumb as an adaptation used for fighting, as the article suggests.

        Though it works marvels once a sturdy stick comes involved

      • by Nyder (754090)

        Your hands will fracture, break, bend, and sometimes emulsify... Especially the forefinger middle knuckle and the top pinky knuckle = 'the boxer break.' Over and over.

        Strange, I would take this as evidence that our hands are NOT evolved for punching, but rather that our bodies are amazingly adaptable to what we put them through.

        It's hard to see the thumb as an adaptation used for fighting, as the article suggests.

        Really? I find the thumbs can press down into the eyes very well in a fight, and it's hard to get them out when rest of the hand is gripped about the skull.

    • Let me say it a different way. If you practice the piano, your hands will stretch, hurt, and grow very very tired. Especially the fourth finger and pinky.

      But each time they grow stronger, more flexible, and capable of independent action. After a while you figuratively become one with the piano.

      And yet your fingers didn't evolve to play the piano. It's just a convenient side-effect.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:55PM (#42356027)

    We were living in a peaceful vegetarian world, munching on salad until the bronze age. Of course, all evidence for this was wiped out by the evil patriarchy.

  • I call BS (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kargan (250092) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:56PM (#42356029) Homepage

    Your hands are full of very small bones. It's very easy to break your hand by punching something hard and dense (such as a skull or face for instance).

    If you want to strike someone in the face, it's smarter to use other parts of the body such as your knee, elbow or to use an open hand strike (such as a palm strike). That way you have the edge of a very long bone delivering the blow.

    • by bakes (87194)

      Some martial arts teach striking with the heel of the palm, gaining the 'end-of-long-bone advantage and protecting the fingers.

    • by Dzimas (547818)
      Forget using a knee or elbow. We're tool users, fer chrissakes. Just smash their skulls with a tree branch.
      • Re:I call BS (Score:5, Insightful)

        by FatLittleMonkey (1341387) on Friday December 21, 2012 @03:37AM (#42357111)

        But then he'll get a bigger stronger branch. And you'll respond by attaching sharpened flint to your branch. Then he invents a system where he can make others fight you while he is protected. So you invent a system where you personify the sun or a volcano and convince others that it's the personification that wants them to fight his defenders...

        Where does it all end?

        • by azalin (67640)
          For now by setting of the fires of the sun in your enemies villages and turning people into ashes shadows on walls
        • by Nyder (754090)

          But then he'll get a bigger stronger branch. And you'll respond by attaching sharpened flint to your branch. Then he invents a system where he can make others fight you while he is protected. So you invent a system where you personify the sun or a volcano and convince others that it's the personification that wants them to fight his defenders...

          Where does it all end?

          In a Quake 3 deathmatch?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Hillgiant (916436)

          Where does it all end?

          1. CHESS
          2. POKER
          3. FIGHTER COMBAT
          4. GUERRILLA ENGAGEMENT
          5. DESERT WARFARE
          6. AIR-TO-GROUND ACTIONS
          7. THEATERWIDE TACTICAL WARFARE
          8. THEATERWIDE BIOTOXIC AND CHEMICAL WARFARE

          9. GLOBAL THERMONUCLEAR WAR

    • by w0mprat (1317953)

      Your hands are full of very small bones. It's very easy to break your hand by punching something hard and dense (such as a skull or face for instance).

      If you want to strike someone in the face, it's smarter to use other parts of the body such as your knee, elbow or to use an open hand strike (such as a palm strike). That way you have the edge of a very long bone delivering the blow.

      Pick up a stick or a rock. If the article had read, we evolved tool use from weapons then yes. By that benchmark we are the most violent species.

    • by N1AK (864906)
      All well and good except mixed martial arts apparently was part of the evolutionary process until quite recently. Guess what, shooting someone is easier still so obviously that would be how primates attacked each other... The fact that a bee often dies when stinging gives you a pretty good example of how evolution and theoretically optimal aren't intrinsically linked!
    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Or don't target the head, the most protected part of the body. There are many other organs to choose from.

  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:56PM (#42356037)

    Although some primatologists may argue that chimpanzees are the most aggressive apes, I think the evidence suggests that humans are substantially more violent.

    Set the chimps down in front of a few Windows systems and we'll see...

    [ Sorry, just finished working on my Windows 7 system and reading the recent Windows 8 thread and am feeling a little violent. ]

  • by kervin (64171) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:03AM (#42356069) Homepage

    And that's just what they'll do

  • SMASH!!!!
  • Oh yeah? (Score:5, Funny)

    by TWX (665546) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:09AM (#42356095)

    David Carrier said, "...I think the evidence suggests that humans are substantially more violent."

    Oh yeah? I bet he wouldn't say that to my face!

    • by Inda (580031)
      Humans are not substantially more violent.

      And if any one disagrees with me, I'll punch their face in.
  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:12AM (#42356115) Homepage Journal

    Well, I guess somebody has to go against the flood of neurological research showing that humans tend greatly towards the altruistic. "Fists, yeah, that's the ticket. People are inherently violent, and so we're justified being bad to them, because they need to be controlled." Augustine of Hippo called - he wants his Original Sin back.

    Troll "research" is troll.

  • by Riceballsan (816702) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:24AM (#42356199)
    Humans are gradually getting less violent. Chimps and other relatives of ours are still more violent. You don't measure violence in how many kills one person had the potential and means to create, that is partly based on intelligence, and it also goes into proportions. Second is coverage, sure we see dozens of racial hate crimes in humans for every Chimpanzee lynching, but the odds of an individual chimpanzee taken at random being killed by his own race, is significantly higher than the odds of any one human being murdered. Statistically humans are dwindling down in violence per capita, we just are more aware of every instance, and individual instances are much larger.
    • "Humans are gradually getting less violent."

      But is this because humans are less violent, or tools of war (WMD) are acting as a check on how violent we can be and not suffer total annihilation in the process? Consider if Japan had nukes when truman dropped the bomb, would he have dropped the bomb? Probably not.

      Humans are violent in calculated ways and their still exists lots of violence in modern societies the violence just takes different forms (bullying, being ripped off, etc).

      • But is a nuclear bomb truly "violence"? Personally I think it's something a little more chilling -- it's cold and calculated with little of the emotional content of headbutting someone for grabbing your girlfriend's arse....
  • by blind monkey 3 (773904) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:33AM (#42356253)
    After reading the article I believe the authors of the study have graphically demonstrated that their hands are best suited for masturbating.
    • Agreed. I saw this article a few days ago and thought to myself what a piece of crap it was, then /. sunk to a new low by posting it.
  • by ddd0004 (1984672) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:33AM (#42356257)

    More quality research from the Chuck Norris Institute of Bodily Harm. I predict the findings of their next study will either focus on the advantages of delivering a roundhouse kick while wearing jeans.

  • Yes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Greyfox (87712)
    Yes, they were.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    http://jeb.biologists.org/content/216/2/236.full

  • this is a joke (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RedHackTea (2779623) on Friday December 21, 2012 @01:09AM (#42356449)
    I feel like this whole site is made for trolling. Read any of the suggested articles or the other articles that she wrote. And when you say "hands were made for punching" instead of "scientists suggest that hands may have evolved in part due to its fighting capabilities," it's hard to really consider this "scientific" but instead more to just increase read count (++readCount).

    Other articles she wrote:
    1. New Dinosaur Had Unforgettable Smile
    2. Sabertooth Cat Lived in Vegas
    3. Iron Age Feast Found in England

    Suggested related articles:

    1. First Human Ancestor Looked Like a Squirrel
    2. Early Human Ancestors Ate Grass
  • The monkey speaks his mind

    And three monkeys sat in a coconut tree
    Discussing things as they are said to be
    Said one to other now listen, you two
    “There’s a certain rumour that just can’t be true
    That man descended from our noble race
    Why, the very idea is a big disgrace, yea”
    No monkey ever deserted his wife
    Starved her baby and ruined her life

    Yea, the monkey speaks his mind

    And you’ve never known a mother monk
    To leave her babies with others to bunk
    And passed them on fro

  • Liam Neeson will be glad to hear this news as he decides what to punch next.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2012/01/25/145837558/what-should-liam-neeson-punch-next [npr.org]

  • "Because you have higher pressure when hitting with a fist, you are more likely to cause injury to tissue, bones, teeth, eyes and the jaw,"

    This line is the only thing that I can find in the article that even slightly resembles evidence suggesting that the hand actually evolved for that purpose, but it seems to make the flawed assumption that since a part of our body is better at doing X one particular way than another, perhaps more natural or obvious way, then the act of doing X must have been the most domi

  • There. I've said it.

  • These hands are made for punching And that's just what all do One of these days these hands are....
  • I find the arguments put forward by the authors of the study rather unconvincing. Once you have an opposable thumb, pretty much anything you can grab on the ground is a better weapon that your fist. Rock anyone?
  • It seems the article is more saying that our thumbs have evolved in a manor that allows us to fold it into our hand like our other fingers to protect it (which happens to be useful when fighting). I suspect this evolution was more about being able to grip something than it was about fighting.

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