Saturday 6 October 2012

Today's Review: Fingernails

Fingernails are freaky, aren't they? There our fingers are, just covered in skin like the rest of our bodies, and suddenly, boom, there's this slab of hard stuff stuck on the tip. Stuff that keeps growing, and requires trimming lest you want dirt to build up under it, or have it ripped off and cause you immense pain.

They're pretty damn useful though. We can use our fingernails to peel stickers off things, scratch itches, make everyone cringe by running them over a chalk board, the possibilities are (nowhere near) endless. Here's an exerpt from Wikipedia on the function of the fingernail:

A healthy (finger) nail has the function of protecting the distal phalanx, the fingertip, and the surrounding soft tissues from injuries. It also serves to enhance precise delicate movements of the distal digits through counter-pressure exerted on the pulp of the finger. The nail then acts as a counterforce when the end of the finger touches an object, thereby enhancing the sensitivity of the fingertip, even though there are no nerve endings in the nail itself. Finally, the nail functions as a tool, enabling for instance a so-called "extended precision grip" (e.g. pulling out a splinter in one's finger).

Holy shit, science. I didn't even know my fingernails enhance my fingertip sensitivity. If I didn't have them would my fingers just be flopping around on the keyboard, lazily brushing the keys with a 50% success rate? I don't know, and thankfully I'll never need to, because my fingernails are there, like a watchful guardian.

What was the first organism to have fingernails? Was something just born with a weird freakish lump of keratin on an appendage, and spent the rest of his days impressing (and impregnating) ladies with his ability to scratch itches? I don't know, but I thank that freak of nature for giving me these keratin lumps. They're pretty useful.

My rating: 5/5

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