Aquatic ape/webbed fingers

I guess the one reason why the otherwise sort of irrelevant “Aquatic Ape” theory intrigued me in the past was that it gave some sort of explanation for human beings’ partially webbed fingers. Why would we have them, unless we truly did spend a lot of time in the water?

Then I started to think about the basic assumption more: Do we really even have webbed fingers? People say this all the time, but I’m not sure I buy it. Yeah, there’s a slightly curving stretch of skin between the fingers, but my dog and my ferret both have more webbing than that, and they sure aren’t fans of the water.

So–are human fingers really “webbed”?

Weird thing – I was just looking over the sites critical of the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis yesterday. The critics take the AAH (or AAT, if you prefer) and edxamine the points one by one. To my surprise, they never address the webbede fingers and toes thing on the sites at all.

Our own Bibliophage responds. No webbed fingers:

Wikipedia entry, with lotsa links. No webbing, either:

Look at your dogs toes. You could call them webbed but they are always close together. Look at your own hand. In its relaxed state, your fingers are close together. When you spread them apart, you see loose skin in-between and you could call it webbed. Some people have more skin, looser skin. “Webbed” hands don’t develop because you live in the water. It’s more, if you live in the water, having more and looser extra skin between your fingers may make you swim faster, But this claim may be dubious; I seem to recall they once tested to see whether wearing webbed gloves would give an advantage to Olympic swimmers, but do not recall the results. :eek: