A Moment of Science

The Future in the Palm of Your Hand

Are six-fingers in store for our evolutionary future?

An outstretched hand balances a crystal ball in its palm.

Photo: Ed Schipul (Flickr)

Sex appeal is the trick to our evolutionary future.

Under what circumstances could future humans grow a sixth finger?

For the basic body plan to change, not only do you need a random genetic mutation to produce a sixth finger. The mutation must also provide an evolutionary advantage when it comes to reproduction.

How might an extra digit become a reproductive boon? This sixth finger would have to be considered an attractive trait to the point that people would seek out mates with six-fingers. That would guarantee that the six-finger gene passes on to future generations.

So the real question: Could having extra fingers ever be a measure of sexiness?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and who knows what the future beholds.

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