Why do I have finger/toenails?

They seem pretty useless to me. Aside from opening the occasional coke can, they don’t offer any real advantage.

So why do we have toe/fingernails? Is this right up there with “why men have nippples?”

Not sure we know WHY we have nails instead of claws, but all primates (lemurs, monkeys, apes, etc.) do. We’re primates, so you could say it’s just part of our evolutionary heritage. They’ve been around for 50M yrs or longer. Primate hands evolved to grasp, so perhaps claws got in the way of grasping and fingernails are just what’s left over. Evolution isn’t perfect. It rarely gets rid of things altogether even if they’re not useful-- only if they’re harmful.

Not quite the same a male nipples, since they do serve a purpose in women and men and women all start out the same for the first few weeks of gestation.

I think nails are to protect the tops of the fingers and toes.

Plus, they’re used to attract the male, especially when they’re painted fire-engine red. :wink:

Spend some time away from your computer outside working, or using sharp tools. If you’ve ever cut into the side of your thumb with a knife and had the knife stop against your thumbnail, you’d have a fundamental understanding of finger and toe nails. In my opinion, our ancestors, who farmed and hunted and built everything with their hands, would have, over the course of their lives, ended up with pretty ragged looking fingers and toes if it wasn’t for the modest protection afforded by the nails.

At the risk of turning this into a debate, fingernails evolved tens of millions of years ago. Unless those primitive primates “farmed and hunted and built everything with their hands”, then I’d postulate fingernails evolved for a different purpose. Could be as innocuous a reason as to aid in grooming, which primates do a LOT of. If you look at chimps, their nails are almost identical to ours.

tens of millions of years ago they’re used to claw people and open up oranges, hey, they still do

They also seem to aide in picking up small objects… It would seem difficult to pick up small things with just nubs.

In a billion years we may no longer have toe-nails but (unless we’ve all gone Borg) I think we’ll still have fingernails.

Try getting a CD out of its shrink-wrap after you’ve closely trimmed your fingernails. In most cases you’ll have to resort to using your teeth.

unless there is an alternative toe-nails are still needed when we stupidly knock our toes against the furniture. :slight_smile:

Try picking fleas or ticks off without them. Ok, maybe it’s not so critical now, but 1000 years ago it was.

…and the NOSE, don’t forget the nose!

How else are you going to scratch that annoying itch?