The Other Human Race

Jon. Feinstein (jfeinstein@UMASSD.EDU)
Thu, 19 May 1994 03:53:54 GMT

I was rereading one of my old favorites recently, "The Other Human Race"
by H. Beam Piper, also published under the name "Fuzzy Sapiens." Briefly, it
it the second of three novels about the discovery of a primitive
extraterrestrial sapient species, called Fuzzies and the events that

The anthropological notions that Piper wrote are not too far off the
mark, especially considering that it was written in 1963 or maybe a bit
earlier, however one hypothesis struck me a bit oddly.

One of the characters, on noting that Fuzzies are ambidextrous,
speculates that this is because they are unaware of the placement of their
hearts and that right-handedness came about from people who fought with
their hearts turned away from an opponant. He also speculated that mankind
at a similar state of development was probably ambidextrous as well.

Well the first part of that argument (knowledge of heart placement) I
am willing to say is probably nonsense. I well recall being more or less
right-handed (although I am capable of writing and throwing a ball with
my left if I must) long before I know where or even what my heart is.
Even if one discounts the knowledge aspect, Piper's notion would imply
that left-handedness is a counter-survival trait.

However, the passage (and if any are interested in reading this series,
this part is very unimportant, practically a throw away) did get me
thinking about handedness in early hominids. Does anyone know if there
have been any studies along this line and if so what the conclusions were?

Jonathan Feinstein


"Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology."
Isaac's Reversal of Clarke's Law