AAA Annual Meeting Program

AAA Annual Meeting Program Details


View Session Details
Paper Information:
Type: Paper
Paper Title: BIOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL DETERMINANTS OF HANDEDNESS AMONG THE HADZA HUNTER-GATHERERS
Author: GEOFFREY THOMAS, FRANK MARLOWE (Florida State University)   
Date/Time: Sun., 11:30 AM
Co-Author(s): GEOFFREY THOMAS, FRANK MARLOWE (Florida State University) 
Abstract: Studies have shown that humans are not the only animals favoring a dominant hand, however a species-wide preference towards right side is reserved for humans (often estimated to be 90%). This asymmetry in handedness has been incorporated into cultural beliefs regarding the dichotomy between the right and left hands. In some cultures the right is portrayed as good and strong while the left hand is thought to be associated with the sinister and evil side of the human body. Among the Hadza of Tanzania, an egalitarian hunter-gatherer society, the use of the left hand is not chastised and yet 98% of the individuals are right handed. The preference towards single hand dominance causes the arms to be subjected to differential mechanical loads, resulting in skeletal and muscular asymmetry. Culturally specific activities and beliefs may influence the expression of asymmetry regardless of handedness. In the Hadza, close to 35% of the individuals show stronger grip strengths in the left hand than in the right, with nearly 10% symmetrical in grip strength. This is due to a variety of cultural activities affecting both hands equally, creating more divergent grip strengths among a population of right handed individuals. This result then calls into question how universal the correlation is between handedness, strength, and size among both contemporary cultures and archaeological remains.

Program Number: 5-0365
Session Title: SPEAKING THE SAME LANGUAGE: BRIDGING THE EVER-GROWING DISCIPLINARY DIVIDE BETWEEN CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY AND ARCHAEOLOGY
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Sun., 10:15 AM-12:00 PM
Organizer(s): IVY HEPP (Florida State University) 
Chair(s): IVY HEPP (Florida State University)  
View Session Details


Schedule-at-a-Glance

If you have any questions about the program, please contact the AAA Meetings Department at aaameetings@aaanet.org.