July 20, 2019
The hand's modes of action became gradually enriched during the operational process in the course of human evolution. The manipulative action of the primates, in which gesture and tool form a single whole, was followed in the first anthropoids by _directly motive action of the hand_ with the hand tool separable from the motive gesture. In the next stage, reached possibly before the Neolithic, gesture became annexed by the hand-operated machine, the hand merely supplying its motor impulse by _indirect mobility_. In historic times motive force itself was transferred from the human arm, and _the hand intervened only to start the motor process_ in animal-operated machines or mechanic machines such as mills. Finally, in the last stage, _the hand is used to set off a programmed process_ in automatic machines that not only exteriorize tools, gestures, and mobility but whose effect also spills over into memory and mechanical behavior.
Source: Leroi-Gourhan, A. (1993). Gesture and speech. Cambridge, Mass. MIT Press.
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