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Why do humans have nails

Why do humans have nails

You beautify them and decorate them or just keep them short and businesslike but one thing you can’t deny is that nails are the constant companions of humans. We are so accustomed to our nails that don’t think about the reason of their existence. Nails come handy in many mini projects and a survival tool for us. When an attacker or enemy grabs us and tries to strangle us or something we try to claw them and dig their skin with our nails. In such circumstances claws are used as weapons. Basically all mammals and primates have nails or claws. Evolution has changed much of our primal body parts but kept nails as they are.

The shape of the nails changed from being sharp edged and pointy to more broad and flat. Scientific research and exploration has proved that around 55.8 million years ago nails originated among a lemur like primate named Teilhardina Brandti. Have you ever opened a soda can with your nail? Or used it to scratch yourself? If you have used it in these ways you probably value your nails and you are thankful that they did not go missing due to evolution.

Primates and ancient cave men needed the nails for peeling the skin of fruit or fighting their battles. Nails are made of keratin which is also the main element of animal horns and hoofs. This shows how we are linked with other mammals through evolution. Nails have not lost their value as we still use them in various ways. They can express our fear, excitement, anger and passion. Brittle or discolored nails are an indication of bad health and malnutrition. Nails make our finger appear longer and add an extra charm to them. Humans have come far from their primal roots but still the instincts remain same and so does the nail.

Written by:
Editor-in-Chief and lead author at WhyDo