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Precision Grip

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Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior


Cattarhine morphology; Opposable thumb; Prosimian morphology


A type of grip formally defined as involving the tips of the thumb and finger(s) and used by some primates for precise handling of objects of different size and shape.

Anatomical, Mechanical, and Behavioral Definitions of Precision Grip

Hands capable of grasping have been central to our evolutionary success and define the order Primates. More than almost any other mammal, primates engage the world with their hands. Primates explore their environment with their hands. Gripping branches during movement, collecting food, handling small objects and in some cases tools, and interacting socially with peers are all behaviors that involve the hands. With dexterous hands capable of prehensility and opposability (see “Opposable Thumb” entry), we humans can achieve daily tasks allowing us to make a living, build buildings, and manufacture objects ranging from tools and clothing to fine pieces of art. One feature...

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Correspondence to Daniel Schmitt .

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Schmitt, D., Lemelin, P. (2018). Precision Grip. In: Vonk, J., Shackelford, T. (eds) Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior. Springer, Cham.

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