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By far the biggest impact would be on math — and a different number system could have surprisingly profound consequences.
Base-10 feels natural, but that's just because we're accustomed to it. If we had six fingers on each hand, Tabin said we would surely have adopted a base-12 system, where the numbers would progress as follows: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, x, y, 10. "We would think of base-12 as the easiest and most natural system and would find base-10 as inconceivable as base-14," he said.
Extra fingers frequently pop up as birth defects; it's called polydactyly, and it's a simple genetic error. But natural selection has not gripped onto those extra fingers and made them permanent. Why not? Tabin argues it's because a duplicate finger contributes nothing new and so doesn't confer any worthwhile evolutionary advantage. If we did develop a true sixth finger, it would probably grow up out of our wrist bones as an extra quasi-thumb.
Originally posted by faryjay
Then I'd be able to eat my Hoola-Hoops quicker i.e. by wearing them as rings and then gobbling them!edit on 17/5/12 by faryjay because: (no reason given)
Originally posted by Druscilla
Some species, like cats, have a higher predisposition toward Polydactylism or phenotypical expression of super-numery digits.
In humans, this expression is commonly seen in groups that exercise very limited gene pool selection resulting mostly in several degrees of incest.
Thus, where there's close inbreeding between brothers and sisters, parents and children, or even first cousins, aunts/uncles with nieces/nephews, there's a higher rate of this expression.
Find someone with 6 or more digits on each hand, and the chances are close to 100% they're the product of close familial inbreeding.
The two different expressions are Postaxial and Preaxial, where Postaxial would equate to an extra little finger, and Preaxial is usually expressed as a second thumb.
In some cases examined, expression of super-numery digits will present with 7, 8, and even 10 fingers on each hand, but rarely symmetrical where one hand may express more or less phalangial and carpal metacarpal development than the other.
From a speculative standpoint regarding development and use of base 10 in math, it would indeed be interesting were there cultures that developed in parallel that used base 8, or base 12 depending on less or more digital expression.
edit on 17-5-2012 by Druscilla because: (no reason given)edit on 17-5-2012 by Druscilla because: (no reason given)
Originally posted by Shrukin89
I had a extra partial finger grow on my pinkie when I was born. My mother didn't like it, they cut it off and now it's a stumpie.
Originally posted by IntegratedInstigator
reply to post by PurpleChiten
The biggest impact I can think of is that we wouldn't have a middle finger, and I wouldn't be able to flip you the bird nearly as effectively.
Originally posted by godspetrat
There was one of those funny fake commercials on Saturday Night Live years back. Tried to find it on Youtube, but no luck.
It started out: "Do you have this problem-EXTRA FINGERS!" and then showed a hand with about eight of them. It then promoted a product called "Melt Away" I think, that you apply to your pesky extra fingers, and voila, they disappear!
Originally posted by lacrimosa
id be able to count to 12.
Originally posted by FaceLikeTheSun
reply to post by PurpleChiten
we'd be the descendants of the Nephilim
"In another battle with the Philistines at Gath, they encountered a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in all, who was also a descendant of the giants."~1 Chronicles 20:6
Originally posted by Insomniac
We'd need bigger pockets, gloves would be more expensive and Playstation games would be really tricky as there'd be more buttons on the controller.