/hand/, n.Learned /lerr"nid/, 1872-1961, U.S. jurist.
* * *The hand has great mobility and flexibility to carry out precise movements. Bipedal locomotion in humans frees the hands for grasping and manipulation. The opposable thumb allows them to pick up small items and grip objects from both sides. Dexterity in the hands and increased brain size are believed to have evolved together in humans.
* * *▪ anatomygrasping organ at the end of the forelimb of certain vertebrates that exhibits great mobility and flexibility in the digits and in the whole organ. It is made up of the wrist joint, the carpal bones (carpal bone), the metacarpal bones, and the phalanges. The digits include a medial thumb (when viewed with the palm down), containing two phalanges, and four fingers, each containing three phalanges.The major function of the hand in all vertebrates except human beings is locomotion; bipedal locomotion in humans frees the hands for a largely manipulative function. In primates the tips of the fingers are covered by fingernails (nail)—a specialization that improves manipulation. The palms and undersides of the fingers are marked by creases and covered by ridges called palm prints and fingerprints (fingerprint), which function to improve tactile sensitivity and grip. The friction ridges are arranged in general patterns that are peculiar to each species but that differ in detail. No two individuals are alike, and in humans the patterns are used for identification. The thumb is usually set at an angle distinct from the other digits; in humans and the great apes it rotates at the carpometacarpal joint, and it is therefore opposable to the other fingers and may be used in combination with them to pick up small objects.Among the apes (ape) and some New World monkeys (monkey), the hand is specialized for brachiation—hand-over-hand swinging through the trees. Digits two to five are elongated and used in clasping tree limbs; the thumb is reduced and little used in swinging. Terrestrial monkeys, such as the baboon, do not have reduced thumbs and can carry out precise movements with fingers and opposing thumb. The development of dexterity in the hands and increase in brain size are believed to have occurred together in the evolution of humans (human evolution).ancient unit of length, now standardized at 4 inches (10.16 cm) and used today primarily for measuring the height of horses from the ground to the withers (top of the shoulders). The unit was originally defined as the breadth of the palm including the thumb. A statute of King Henry VIII (Henry VIII) of England established the hand at four inches. Units of various lengths were used by the ancient Egyptians, Hebrews, Greeks, Romans, and others.
* * *