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An example of a human precision grip — grasping a first metacarpal from the thumb of a specimen of Australopithecus africanus that's thought to be 2 to 3 million years old. T.L. Kivell & M. Skinner hide caption

itoggle caption T.L. Kivell & M. Skinner

David Adam is a writer and editor at the journal Nature and was a special correspondent at the Guardian, writing about science, medicine and the environment. Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC