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1 Obdicut  Wed, Dec 19, 2012 10:02:03pm

I severely doubt this. Hands suck at punching. They break like motherfuckers.

Our hands evolved for brachiation and ground locomotion. Very recently, they've evolved for manual dexterity. They're not totally incompatible with punching, but they're sure not good at it.

2 Destro  Thu, Dec 20, 2012 4:26:11am

re: #1 Obdicut

I recall reading that same criticism for how we can walk upright....

3 Obdicut  Thu, Dec 20, 2012 4:30:24am

Okay, I read the paper, and it's just a back-formation. It's saying that because the thumb buttressing the hands provides stiffness and resilience for a punch when punching, it must have evolved to do so. The main problem with this is that that same stiffening means the force during the strike is applied to a smaller area-- in other words, it's more damaging for the human fist as well. The second problem with this is that there might be other reasons why we evolved to have that longer thumb and shorter palms-- most specifically, that when we were chimps we needed hands to grasp large, thick branches, but as more ground-dwelling humans gripping smaller objects like sticks and rocks was important. The later explanation would even still be consistent with hands being weaponized.

4 Dark_Falcon  Thu, Dec 20, 2012 6:45:39am

Upding for the discussion, if not for the article contents. It's stayed civil, even in disagreement.

5 Obdicut  Thu, Dec 20, 2012 6:55:51am

Also, when people make a fist 'naturally', they often either put the thumb inside the fist or to the side of the index finger, which is not good.

6 Dark_Falcon  Thu, Dec 20, 2012 6:57:33am

re: #5 Obdicut

Also, when people make a fist 'naturally', they often either put the thumb inside the fist or to the side of the index finger, which is not good.

Well, humans, like chimps, do need to learn complex behaviors other animals possess instinctively.

7 Obdicut  Thu, Dec 20, 2012 7:01:16am

re: #6 Dark_Falcon

Actually, a lot of other animals learn stuff too. We're not that different. Hunting patterns, food-gathering, nurturing, a lot of this stuff is taught and one reason why captive breeding programs aren't nearly as good as protection of wild habitat.

Think of momma raccoon teaching her young 'uns how to catch crawdaddies.

8 Dark_Falcon  Thu, Dec 20, 2012 7:05:47am

re: #7 Obdicut

Actually, a lot of other animals learn stuff too. We're not that different. Hunting patterns, food-gathering, nurturing, a lot of this stuff is taught and one reason why captive breeding programs aren't nearly as good as protection of wild habitat.

Think of momma raccoon teaching her young 'uns how to catch crawdaddies.

True, I was just trying to use that to say that things could have evolved in a certain way even though we still need to learn how to optimize our use of our bodies.

9 Obdicut  Thu, Dec 20, 2012 7:08:42am

re: #8 Dark_Falcon

True, I was just trying to use that to say that things could have evolved in a certain way even though we still need to learn how to optimize our use of our bodies.

Yeah, actually, you're absolutely right. Raccoon hands evolved to be good at catching crawdaddies even if they need to be taught how to do it. What you said is completely true; my point that most people make a bad fist 'naturally' isn't at all relevant.

10 Dark_Falcon  Thu, Dec 20, 2012 7:28:38am

re: #9 Obdicut

Yeah, actually, you're absolutely right. Raccoon hands evolved to be good at catching crawdaddies even if they need to be taught how to do it. What you said is completely true; my point that most people make a bad fist 'naturally' isn't at all relevant.

Thank you for that. I know I say it a lot, but you're a good egg, Obdicut.

11 Destro  Thu, Dec 20, 2012 6:54:22pm

re: #9 Obdicut

re: #10 Dark_Falcon

My martial arts instructor instructs us to avoid punching with a fist. Flat of the palm strike. A knuckle punch to be done right involves practice or you could shatter your hand.

12 Obdicut  Fri, Dec 21, 2012 4:08:25am

re: #11 Destro

Well, palm strikes can shatter stuff too.. There isn't any way to use the human hand to transmit force which doesn't impact the same force onto the hand, because Newton.

Palm strikes need practice to, or you'll hit too high up with the palm and bend your hand backwards, tearing tendons and ripping up shit.

"Don't hit stuff" is pretty much the safest, if unsatisfying advice. I'd add "but if you do, wear gloves."


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