In this paper, we test the currently accepted taxonomic hypothesis that the hand of the Homo habilis holotype Olduvai hominid 7 (OH7) from Olduvai Gorge can be unambiguously assigned to Homo. Morphometric and morphological comparison with humans and australopithecines (Australopithecus and Paranthropus) indicate that the OH7 hand most likely belongs to P. boisei. The morphological adaptations of Paranthropus are thus further evaluated in the light of the alternative taxonomic hypothesis for OH7. Functional analyses suggest that morphological features related to human-like precision grasping, previously considered diagnostic of toolmaking by some, may be alternatively attributed to specialized manual feeding techniques in robust australopithecines. Copyright © 2008 S. Karger AG.
- Hand morphology
- Olduvai hominid 7