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Author Topic: What are toenails for?  (Read 22338 times)

Caroline Oakes

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What are toenails for?
« on: 09/07/2010 21:30:02 »
Caroline Oakes  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hi Chris!
 
Its Caroline Oakes, I asked a question last weekend about coldsores. remember me?!
 
Anyway- I have another question - this time its about TOENAILS.
Basically, what is the point of them?!!
 
They are only good for painting with varnish (do you find this to ) hehe
 
I know or THINK toes keep us balanced or help to keep us balanced BUT what do the toe nails serve?

Hopefully you can help me with my question!!
 
love the show, as always-

Caroline

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 09/07/2010 21:30:02 by _system »


 

Offline defkhan1

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What are toenails for?
« Reply #1 on: 23/08/2010 16:00:31 »
In my opinion, toenails are a vestigial version of fingernails, from when we had much more arm-like usage of our lower limbs.  Since evolving to walk upright (I realize if one does not subscribe to evolution my entire post is worthless) they remain in place in a somewhat diminished role.  At this point they most likely only serve to provide some minor protection the end of the toe.

I also believe that nature does not waste energy and material on useless features forever, so if the usefulness is outweighed by the expenditure of their creation, then toenails will eventually fade away.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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What are toenails for?
« Reply #2 on: 23/08/2010 19:25:38 »
They are there to show that we evolved from animals with claws.
 

Offline peppercorn

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What are toenails for?
« Reply #3 on: 23/08/2010 19:58:57 »
They are there to show that we evolved from animals with claws.

Mother Nature wanted us to know!   ;)
 

Offline Variola

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What are toenails for?
« Reply #4 on: 23/08/2010 21:41:12 »
They are for painting of course..... silly question!  :D
 

Offline Don_1

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What are toenails for?
« Reply #5 on: 25/08/2010 12:20:30 »
Our fingernails are still used for a number of things, even it they may be only scratching and teenagers picking spots.

Toenails, however are not used, and grow at roughly half the rate of the fingernail. To me this suggests that the toenail is vestigial and will disappear in time.

For now their only purposes seem to be to cause aggravation when trying to cut them, to make holes in your socks when you don't cut them and to cause great discomfort when they become ingrown.
 

Offline JnA

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What are toenails for?
« Reply #6 on: 25/08/2010 13:13:24 »
Our fingernails are still used for a number of things, even it they may be only scratching and teenagers picking spots.

Toenails, however are not used, and grow at roughly half the rate of the fingernail. To me this suggests that the toenail is vestigial and will disappear in time.

For now their only purposes seem to be to cause aggravation when trying to cut them, to make holes in your socks when you don't cut them and to cause great discomfort when they become ingrown.


I agree. The 'problems' in toe nails occur because of our unique (in the animal kingdom) footwear. One might say that toenails are to protect the very sensitive beds underneath, but we may grow out of that too.

Most primates have flat nails, some lesser primates have a combination (the cotton topped Tamarin has one flat nail on its big toe, the others are claws)
 

Offline OokieWonderslug

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What are toenails for?
« Reply #7 on: 13/09/2010 21:31:42 »
When you walk without shoes on the toenails protect the tops of your toes from abrasion and other injury. They are handy just for that purpose. If you wear shoes all the time then they have no use. But we're not meant to wear shoes all the time. I'd rather have a scratched toenail that a cut toe. Wouldn't you?
 

Offline tommya300

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What are toenails for?
« Reply #8 on: 14/09/2010 02:03:51 »
When you walk without shoes on the toenails protect the tops of your toes from abrasion and other injury. They are handy just for that purpose. If you wear shoes all the time then they have no use. But we're not meant to wear shoes all the time. I'd rather have a scratched toenail that a cut toe. Wouldn't you?

Oh no have we been that domesticated?
 

Offline peppercorn

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What are toenails for?
« Reply #9 on: 14/09/2010 13:29:44 »
Oh no have we been that domesticated?
;D

When you walk without shoes on the toenails protect the tops of your toes from abrasion and other injury. They are handy just for that purpose. If you wear shoes all the time then they have no use. But we're not meant to wear shoes all the time. I'd rather have a scratched toenail that a cut toe. Wouldn't you?

I wasn't aware evolution has had time to 'take account' fo shoe wearing  :D
 

Offline yamo

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What are toenails for?
« Reply #10 on: 20/09/2010 00:56:06 »
They are not FOR anything.  They grew.  Animals that grew them did not go extinct.  They are.  The universe is without purpose.
 

Offline peppercorn

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What are toenails for?
« Reply #11 on: 20/09/2010 07:56:56 »
The universe is without purpose.

How depressing  [:-'(]
 

Offline sharetips033

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What are toenails for?
« Reply #12 on: 21/09/2010 07:12:07 »
 For a very long time it was speculated that toe-nails protected the nerve endings in the hands and toes from over stimulation and impact. Now it is believed that fingernails may actually INCREASE sensitivity by channeling nerve endings towards fingertips and toe-tips.
 

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What are toenails for?
« Reply #12 on: 21/09/2010 07:12:07 »

 

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