An article over at Phys Org makes a startling claim; namely that the human hand is more primitive than a chimps!
This is surprising, even in the light of evolutionary thinking. Who would have expected such a thought? Humans, while we have certain similarities to chimps, are radically different, especially in the area of intelligence. We have larger brains and can use complex language to communicate. Our face has a vertical profile, pointy chin, and narrow nose-bridge; we have an S-shaped curved spine, a wide curved pelvis, and different body proportions. But another thing that separates us is our hands; most notably our opposable thumb. This allows us to easily manipulate objects and work with our hands. So how in the world can our hands be more primitive than a chimp’s?
A study from the journal Nature Communications says that it’s the hands of chimps and orangutans that have evolved the most since splitting off from the line of human ancestors. Their fingers became longer (compared to the thumb), allowing them to swing from branches. But humans, on the other hand, have a longer thumb compared to the fingers, giving us specialization and precision grasping.
Researchers at The George Washington University analyzed the hand-length of humans and living and extinct apes, and they’ve determined that the human hand has changed very little since our last common ancestor. Researcher Sergio Almecija said, “their hands were—in terms of overall proportions—pretty much like ours today.”
Of course I think that’s nonsense. Firstly, even assuming evolution, we don’t know what creature was our last common ancestor, and the article even acknowledges that its identity is uncertain. Secondly, such a conclusion is superficial and doesn’t take into consideration how well our hands and fingers function for what we need them for; they are well-designed for manipulating our environment. And lastly, if humans haven’t evolved at all, then such speculation is pointless.
The article’s conclusion is completely at odds with what I’d expect if evolution were true; I would have expected the human hand to be far more advanced. But instead of evolving, I believe our hand (and entire body) was well-designed by God, and our success as a species is evidence of that.
My favorite quote from the article came when Almecija acknowledged that: “Any evolutionary model of human hand evolution assuming a chimpanzee-like ancestor will likely be flawed from the beginning.” This is important to note because the entire study rests on unprovable assumptions about the distant past. So instead of accepting evolution, I think it’s far more reasonable to believe we were created with great care and purpose by God.