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<p>Pointing gestures play a crucial role in human language, but up to now we have not known where these gestures come from. Here we investigated the hypothesis that pointing originates in touch. First, we found that when people point at a target they orient their fingers not as though trying to create an ‘arrow’ that picks out the target, but instead as though they are aiming to touch it; second, that when pointing at a target at an angle, people rotate their wrists to match that angle as they would if they were trying to touch the target; and finally, that young children interpret pointing gestures as if they were attempts to touch things, not as arrows. These results provide the first substantial evidence that pointing originates in touch.</p>
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