Monday, 26 January 2015
Fingernails . . . the Big Question Answered
Well I was asked a question in cyberspace the other day about fingernails, no not the nails you can buy to nail fingers to walls, but fingernails at the end of fingers. I can’t remember the exact question (sorry Miss Lily) but it was all about their purpose and stuff. And this is an important question because it is not one that Charles Darwin or the Pope ever used in their epic battle of theory v theology. One the Pope always used to win, but mainly thanks to the Spanish inquisition, folk never argued with the Spanish inquisition. As history has often told us religion can be a bit iffy in its methods of persuasion, anyway this a distraction from the issue of finger nails.
So let us consider fingernails in evolutionary terms what was there function and what are they. Well we know they are made of the same material as hair which explains why they grow constantly, but do they perform something useful like pointing. . . . Well NO.
You see man's nearest ancestor on Earth is the chimpanzee and they don’t do much with their fingernails either in fact in nature most critters don’t use fingernails. The main exception to this is cats, they have fingernails but they are known to us as claws. So this must mean that man and cats are closely related in some odd way, it can’t be a coincidence that they are one of man's closest domestic animals that share (or takes over) his house and life. Even both our main food sources originate from supermarkets.
So it appears that the primary evolutionary purpose of fingernails was to catch mice. This now defunct function in man however has been lingering in the subconscious of the human race for thousands of years and has been the driving force behind mans technological development as we worked relentlessly towards our new goal, the artificial mouse which has finally reached its pinnacle with the Optical Mouse as used in most homes to move that little cursor about on our computers. We are reconstructing the cat playing with its furry toy.
Theology has still never resolved the issue of fingernails and religion is still uncomfortable about why God created them. If you ask the Pope about them he will raise two fingers in the air to show you his fingernails, shrug his shoulders and then say something to you in Latin which is best not translated.