1

votes

Why do we still have toenails?

Answered on November 04, 2014
Created February 05, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Toenails seem pretty useless, and in fact more often than not just seem to be a source of trouble. Given that hominims have been bipedal for over 2 million years, it seems like toenails would have disappeared if they had no positive function at all. So, presuming that paleolithic humans would have derived some benefit from having toenails, what could that benefit be? Fingernails are clearly needed for additional gripping power. Toenails aren't strong enough to provide climbing grip (or are they?)

Da3d4a6835c0f5256b2ef829b3ba3393

on February 05, 2012
at 06:01 PM

My father's toenails have always been grotesque as well, Korion. As for me, when I was running they were always purple. Dark purple.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on February 05, 2012
at 05:48 PM

Haha, Nance, my father has those toenails. Horrible :D.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 05, 2012
at 05:46 PM

I like my finger and toenails just fine! I might feel differently if they were the thick, yellow things I see on others' feet. And, not mentioned yet, haven't you noticed that doctors glance at your nail beds to gauge your health at a glance? Mine have never looked better, BTW.

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6 Answers

5
93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on February 05, 2012
at 10:12 PM

I use mine to scratch my calfs when I'm in sandals standing in the checkout line. Couldn't do without 'em. Now the question is, why didn't evolution fix our itchy calfs? Or our antsy compulsive behavior, which is probably more truthful.

Natural selection works slowly enough that our genotypes preserve traits that might come in handy with future physiotypes. Our descendants might someday fight like velociraptors, using their toenails to slash each other's guts out, in order to advance further in the checkout line. Sounds like fun, eh? I know I look forward to it.

4
9140810eb28b318fb081c1f98c0989c8

(459)

on February 05, 2012
at 06:38 PM

Things don't disappear because they are no longer useful. Evolution is the process of selecting against things that have a negative impact on survival. Do toenails have a negative impact on survival? No. In fact, given the state of modern medicine and styles of living, very few things do.

1
Da3d4a6835c0f5256b2ef829b3ba3393

on February 05, 2012
at 05:39 PM

Here's a discussion on this topic: http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/content/latest-questions/question/2588/

and this: http://www.totalfootwellness.com/why_do_humans_have_toenails.php

I know that when I used to run quite a bit, my toenails took a beating. Some of the mega-runners don't have them. My point? I don't guess I have one.

Here's a picture of a toenail:

why-do-we-still-have-toenails?

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on February 05, 2012
at 05:48 PM

Haha, Nance, my father has those toenails. Horrible :D.

Da3d4a6835c0f5256b2ef829b3ba3393

on February 05, 2012
at 06:01 PM

My father's toenails have always been grotesque as well, Korion. As for me, when I was running they were always purple. Dark purple.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 05, 2012
at 05:46 PM

I like my finger and toenails just fine! I might feel differently if they were the thick, yellow things I see on others' feet. And, not mentioned yet, haven't you noticed that doctors glance at your nail beds to gauge your health at a glance? Mine have never looked better, BTW.

0
C87f3e29bc6dc1386031e38759196194

on November 04, 2014
at 12:35 AM

we have toenails because the live cells push dead cells to the surface to make our toenails and nails. What is your answer?

0
C87f3e29bc6dc1386031e38759196194

on November 04, 2014
at 12:35 AM

we have toenails because the live cells push dead cells to the surface to make our toenails and nails. What is your answer?

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