Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Hand of Time
24 May 2012

Hand of Time

This glove might not be suitable winter wear, but it has the potential to reveal how your brain evolved. Around 2.5 million years ago, early man was wielding sharp stones as his most sophisticated tool. The progression from these rocks to the carefully crafted handmade axes some million years later represented a huge technological leap. The ‘data glove’ shown here tells us just how great a leap it was. Fitted with tiny sensors, it records the precise movements required to complete a physical task. Scientists asked a craftsman to faithfully replicate the two ancient tool-making techniques while wearing the glove. The resulting data revealed how intellectually demanding the tasks were, and support the belief that a huge boost in brain-power was needed to progress from rock to axe. These detailed data about our movements cast light on how our brain and body work together.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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