Why do people have fingernails and toenails?
Fingernails are very useful in performing a whole bunch of tasks. This is really brought home to people who have lost fingernails in accidents.
Fingernails help us open things, undo knots, peel fruit, and scratch things. Fingernails make it easier to pick up small items. In olden times, fingernails helped keep a person clean. Fingernails assisted in removing bugs and lice that created a huge nuisance. Good grooming needed fingernails.
Biologists claim that fingernails and toenails are much like the hoof, claw, or talon of animals. These tools were used as defensive and offensive weapons. Claws and talons are valuable tools in hunting and securing food.
There was a theory at one time that fingernails and toenails were designed to protect the tips of the finger bone that lies under the end of the finger. However, people who have lost a fingernail or toenail in a accident find that the skin grows together and provides protection for the end of the finger.
However, doctors say that fingernails make the fingers more sensitive to touch. They generally agree that people can get along without nails, but fingernails do make life a bit easier.
Toenails seem to be less important than fingernails, especially in modern times when we don’t need toenails to secure food and shelter. Toes do help us walk properly and maintain our balance.
If a body part is not used over the millennia, it becomes less prominent until it disappears altogether. This is the argument made as to why the small toenail is getting smaller and smaller. It’s a theory that most scientists adhere to.
Fingernails grow one-tenth millimeter per day. So in 10 days a typical fingernail will lengthen to about the thickness of a dime. The middle and ring fingernails grow faster than the little fingernail and thumbnail. Toenails grow less than half as fast as fingernails.
Fingernails do provide clues to a person’s health. Color change, dark streaks, nail shape, thinning or thickening, and pitting are cues and clues for doctors.
When we were kids, we believed the story that when you die, your fingernails continue to grow and get longer. But it is a myth. The body actually dehydrates after death. The skin dries and shrinks, and pulls away from the fingernail. The fingernail juts out more prominently. It does not continue to grow.

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1 Response to Fingernails

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