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Why is five a useful number for fingers and toes?

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posted on Jun, 10 2006 @ 12:17 PM
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Another question proposed by my husband

Why do so many different species have five digits, even those without opposible thumbs?




posted on Jun, 10 2006 @ 12:26 PM
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Though I've heard a lot of folks complain about the uselessness of there smallest digits I've decided they are very useful for balance and that I might fall down all the time if it weren't for them.



posted on Jun, 10 2006 @ 12:35 PM
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Birds
Reptiles
Mammals
We all have 5 fingers/toes on our upper limbs.
This means that we all have a common ancestor.

Why five? I don’t know why it is five, but the reason it is still around is because it hasn’t been selected against.

Here is a good site to read about why we have five fingers.

www.wonderquest.com...



d1k

posted on Jun, 10 2006 @ 03:00 PM
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We really do not need the last two digits on our hands and feet. That is why they are smaller, they are shrinking with evolution and generations down the line we will not even have them....so they say. Primates neeed them for climbing and swinging through trees but humans do not therefore they are slowly going away.

I don't have a link but I'm sure it would not be hard to find doing a google search.

[edit on 10-6-2006 by d1k]



posted on Jun, 10 2006 @ 03:08 PM
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Because if we didn't have 5 digits, we wouldn't be able to give each other high fives. Life would suck without high fives.



posted on Jun, 10 2006 @ 04:58 PM
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High five to all the posts!
Husband says thanks and good food for thought.
d1k, I think E.T. had only four fingers, hmmmm evolving...
Anyway, I'm off to google with these ideas.



posted on Jun, 10 2006 @ 05:23 PM
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Originally posted by d1k
We really do not need the last two digits on our hands and feet. That is why they are smaller, they are shrinking with evolution and generations down the line we will not even have them....so they say. Primates neeed them for climbing and swinging through trees but humans do not therefore they are slowly going away.

I don't have a link but I'm sure it would not be hard to find doing a google search.

[edit on 10-6-2006 by d1k]


I disagree with that.

Next to having a much higher force and grip in your hands with 5 fingers compared to 3 (just try holding a wrench or something with just 3 fingers, compared to 5) we also use more and more unput devices these days that could benifit from having evne more then 5 fingers.

Offcource, there are plenty of 1 finger typers out there, but the people that work with computers alot use all 5.



posted on Jun, 10 2006 @ 05:43 PM
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Originally posted by d1k
We really do not need the last two digits on our hands and feet. That is why they are smaller, they are shrinking with evolution and generations down the line we will not even have them....so they say.
[edit on 10-6-2006 by d1k]


Well, ring finger is larger than my index finger, and they're both longer than my thumb. On their own, my ring finger and pinky aren't anywhere near as strong as the other fingers, but as another poster said, I can't do as much with only three fingers as I can with five.

As a pianist and someone who does a lot of computer work (read: typing), I personally think 5 fingers is way too few
There are a handful (no pun intended) of people who've had more than you're average helping of digits. Don't know if that helps answer why, but extra info never hurts.



posted on Jun, 10 2006 @ 05:53 PM
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Ah, Thematrix, you might be on to something here. In fact, the little finger on my left hand is healing (maybe a knuckle or small break), and there have been things harder to do (good hold or grip) with the remaining. Since my right arm is temporarily in a sling, I sure know what you mean about typing with one finger! I always wondered why some aliens are drawn with fewer than 5 digits (only 3 sometimes), if they're supposed to be so advanced; why would they need less digits. I guess they don't walk around with a goblet of wine in one hand and an hors d'oeuvre in the other.



posted on Jun, 10 2006 @ 06:09 PM
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The 5 fingers are an acestral legacy from back when we were fish. Most evolutionists agree that our thumb was developed because of the primates move into forest canopys. Later, our thumb moved opposite the other 4 fingers, because we started gripping around tools.



posted on Jun, 10 2006 @ 11:31 PM
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Originally posted by Thain Esh Kelch Later, our thumb moved opposite the other 4 fingers, because we started gripping around tools.


Just curious, but was this how it happened? I always understood it to be the other way around; we started gripping tools because our thumb started moving opposite...



posted on Jun, 11 2006 @ 12:29 AM
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Why is five a useful number for fingers ?

Coz if we had 6 our gloves wouldn,t fit..


[edit on 11-6-2006 by AGENT_T]



posted on Jun, 11 2006 @ 08:06 AM
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Originally posted by MCory1

Originally posted by Thain Esh Kelch Later, our thumb moved opposite the other 4 fingers, because we started gripping around tools.


Just curious, but was this how it happened? I always understood it to be the other way around; we started gripping tools because our thumb started moving opposite...

Normal evolution, selection. As soon as we started using tools, because our brains evolved, persons who had slightly opposite thumbs started getting selectioned for. And over time, the thumb moved longer and longer backwards.

The other way wouldnt happen, there would be a selection for having the 5 fingers on the same side because we would be better equipped for staying in the canopy then.



quote: Originally posted by AGENT_T
Why is five a useful number for fingers ?

Coz if we had 6 our gloves wouldn,t fit..



And high-five would be a stupid thing to say!


Seriously, its merely chance. We could just as well have 6 fingers if our common ancestor fish had that. Look at horses for instance, they didnt need the 5 bones, so they evolved into having a single bone. Even whales still have a few bones left in their behind-legs (Yes, they are there and I believe they are used for mating according to the latest research, although they only appear as small lumbs in the skin).
Here is a good picture that illustrates it, and you can see how there are 5 fingers in the front-'leg' also.


[edit on 11/6/06 by Thain Esh Kelch]



posted on Jun, 11 2006 @ 08:13 AM
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Nature replicates in the order of a Fibanacci Sequence... that is...

0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21 etc

where the previous two states create the next state....

f sub n = f sub n-1 + f sub n-2
f(n)=f(n-1)+f(n-2) (sorta - as a recursive relationship)
where f(0) = 0 and f(1) = 1 (our initial conditions)


I believe this is because of the way nature has to split/distribute resources to new growth. Thus, we probably went from 3 fingers to 5 fingers, then the first finger became the thumb (but we still have the 5 fingers).

Also, with 3 or 4 fingers, we would have considerably less torque (as mentioned by thematrix) and we would have almost no 'scooping' ability, which is bad if we have to play with liquids or gels, like water. 5 fingers is increased surface area, as well as bone and muscle density.

The pinky finger is also pretty sensitive which adds to our ability to balance objects in the hands.

I really don't believe the theories that we'll evolve to have 4 fingers. If we end up with 4 fingers, it will probably be a freak accident (chemical toxins or something like that).

That's just my 2 cents.

[edit on 11-6-2006 by Protector]



posted on Jun, 11 2006 @ 01:45 PM
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There are mutations with six fingers, which opens a can of worms, because i dont think the 'algorithm' for fingers works by repetition. if my understanding of genetics is valid, every single digit needs its own gene sequence, interconnected with the rest (otherwise it wouldn't respond and just be there).


So, the random six fingered human is just expressing a dormant capability, or am i going off a tangent here ?

[edit on 11-6-2006 by Long Lance]



posted on Jun, 11 2006 @ 04:13 PM
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By all means, keep this discussion going! Five digits seems to be an inherited characteristic. Some debate as to if needed. My husband says having three opposable digits could hold a wrench and have leverage; the three toed sloth gets around on branches. He says in robotics application there're many with three-digits only. (leading to knew meaning of "one for the gipper", he laughs
)
He also says 6 or more could be an advantage in as above mentioned cases, as long as they don't get entangled (serious here).
I like the idea of more than 5 digits. Certainly easier to hold more things at once.



posted on Jun, 11 2006 @ 06:38 PM
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Here is a link to a boy with 6 good fingers on each hand, one foot has 6 toes and the other 7 toes.

Pic link on page:

www.nbc5.com...










[edit on 6/11/2006 by bodebliss]



posted on Jun, 12 2006 @ 01:14 AM
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hmmm.... does anyone else get aggrivated by people who treat the theory of evolution as fact? For evolution to have happened like the theorists say, it would have taken an entire group of creatures to have the same mutations at the same time, the odds (which is all that evolutionists can go by) predict that for evolution to have taken place exactly as it has, should have taken trillions of years from the "big bang" instead of billions. Is there anyone here that wants to explain to me why they are so intent on trying to rule out the direct influence of a God on existance?



posted on Jun, 12 2006 @ 01:39 AM
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Originally posted by ioogy
For evolution to have happened like the theorists say, it would have taken an entire group of creatures to have the same mutations at the same time,

That statement is completly wrong.
Evolution doesn't require "creatures to have the same mutations at the same time" that is just silly.
Evolution requires a genetic mutation to be carried on to the next generation via natural selection.
In other words if the only food was up high and you are a short little man who can't reach it you would starve and be unable to breed and make more short little men.



the odds (which is all that evolutionists can go by) predict that for evolution to have taken place exactly as it has, should have taken trillions of years from the "big bang" instead of billions.

Really, trillions? Where does this information come from? Got a link or just made up?



hmmm.... does anyone else get aggrivated by people who treat the theory of evolution as fact?
...
Is there anyone here that wants to explain to me why they are so intent on trying to rule out the direct influence of a God on existance?


First, you sound like you are trying to present the theory of God as fact.
Second, evolution doesn't disprove god's existence.
The only thing I find aggravating is when people show up on the science forum to push their religion.



posted on Jun, 12 2006 @ 05:20 AM
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Originally posted by ioogy
hmmm.... does anyone else get aggrivated by people who treat the theory of evolution as fact? For evolution to have happened like the theorists say, it would have taken an entire group of creatures to have the same mutations at the same time, the odds (which is all that evolutionists can go by) predict that for evolution to have taken place exactly as it has, should have taken trillions of years from the "big bang" ...



Sure, but before you discard evolution why not refine its concept? today, the only acknowledged mechanism of contructive alteration is mutation, weird, eh? if there were other mechanisms (and i believe there are) we could all have a lot to gain from understanding the mechanism.

If you don't get my drift, effective mutation happens to gametes once in a lifetime, while a feedback-style mechanism is by its very nature continouus, more or less. draw conclusions from here.



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