The dart-throwing motion of the wrist: is it unique to humans?

J Hand Surg Am. 2006 Nov;31(9):1429-37. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2006.08.010.


Kinematic analysis has shown a near-stationary proximal carpal row during the dart-thrower's motion, which is believed to provide a stable platform for the generation of force and accuracy during certain power and precision grip activities. This finding is consistent with evidence in the human hand of adaptations that enabled effective manipulation of stones, cylindric wood, and bone tools for throwing and clubbing. There are at least two possible explanations for the observed human proximal carpal row kinematics. One is that it is retained from a previous common ancestor with great apes and previously adapted to some form of foraging or locomotor behavior involving the hands, but was recruited for tool use after we diverged from the apes. The second is that it evolved after our divergence from apes, in synchrony with adaptations in the human hand to the manipulation of tools, and central to the development of the human's unique ability to aim and accelerate tools and weapons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Animals
  • Anthropology, Physical
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Forearm / physiology
  • Hominidae
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Sports / physiology*
  • Wrist Joint / physiology*