Sunday, April 25, 2010

A News Sonnet A Day for April 2010: 25

I've set myself a goal for National Poetry Month this year: Compose a sonnet based on a science-themed news story each day.

Today's installment takes its cue from " For ancient hominids, thumbs up on precision grip" by Bruce Bower, Science News.


Some theories say the act of making tools
Are where we get our dextrous fingers from.
Now scientists are questioning those rules.
They indicate a tiny fossil thumb

With length enough to be opposable
As far back as six million years ago.
But ancient apes had long thumbs, too, to pull
And grasp. That trait passed down, the data show.

To make stone tools, one strikes a hammer stone
Against another stone to chip off flakes.
The thumb's not crucial, so the fossil bone
Leads some to ask, what difference would it make?

Did thumb or tool come first? The theories flip,
But early hominids could get a grip.

Elissa Malcohn's Deviations and Other Journeys
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