Re: The brain and the hand

Jeff Fabijanic (
Fri, 6 Aug 1999 10:13:05 -0400

Greg Burch wrote:

>...I agree that it's much more a function of
>the combination of BIPEDALISM with the wetware behind the hardware, than the
>hand alone. The major breakthrough that happened with Australopithicus was
>freeing up the hand. As you say, John, the big question in primate evolution
>is what pushed us upright.

In _The River that Flows Uphill_, William Calvin posits that *after* our ancestors were pushed upright in the process of becoming fringe/plain dwellers (upright animals see better over tall grass, and present a smaller cross-section to the hot savana sun), they adapted a grasping hand into a *throwing* hand. And it is perhaps the increased brain power necessary to accurately project a missile to it's target that really started our incredibly fast ride up the river of intelligence.

I don't know if we'll eventually find data to support such a theory, but it resonates with me. I like the idea that the quality of projecting our wills into the physical world out past the limited reach of our bodies, and our minds into the future to accurately model trajectories, pushed us from the eternal now of animal life into the screwed-up difficult amazing world of human conciousness.

That book, btw, is an excellent summer read. Part travel log, part biography, part adventure story, part neuro-anthropology text. Calvin knows that he's in mostly uncharted territory, and approaches the questions he raises as an explorer, not a prophet.

The book is out of print in the US, but available from Amazon and there is an online version at .

|    Jeffrey Fabijanic, Designer         The Future exists,
|        Primordial Software               first in Imagination,
|   "Software of the First Order"            then in Will,
|    Boston, MA  * (617) 983-1369              and finally in Reality.