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Chimpanzee tool-grasping hand grips

© Copyright Alessandra Kelley

Stippled pen and ink drawings of four different chimpanzee tool-holding grips

These are four pen-and-ink stippled drawings of chimpanzee hand grips for tool use.

They were commissioned for for the article "The Interdigital Brace and Other Grips for Termite Nest Perforation by Chimpanzees of the Goualougo Triangle, Republic of Congo" by Julie Lesnik, PhD, Crickette Sanz, PhD, and David Morgan, PhD, published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology 157:252-259, April 2015.

I started with studies of the bones of the chimpanzee hand and then various sources including photographs and videos before laying out the anatomy of the hands.

One of the challenges of illustrating something close to but not quite human is that one is tempted to either distort towards human norms and make the forms look too human, or to distort away and make them exaggeratedly different. This project took a lot of care and double-checking.