Chapter 14. How We Stay in Touch


Paleontologists are fond of pointing out that an important distinction between the apes, including humans, and the rest of the animal kingdom is the opposable thumb. It enables us apes to grip with a strength and manipulate with a grace that fingers cannot manage on their own. Why, without thumbs, we would be a pitiful sight as we tried to use tablets and smartphones. We’d be lucky to get them out of our pockets and not drop them as we wrote messages with the tips of our noses.

Luckily, that’s not our fate. It’s fitting that touch—the most intimate way we have of expressing ourselves—is our preferred way of communicating ...

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