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Evolutionary Psychics

An unlikely look into the future as Don visits with a psychic.

Today on a Moment of Science, "Evolutionary Psychics". In preparation for today's program, I recently sat down will well know evolutionary psychic, Madame Celeste. After looking into her crystal ball, she saw that, in the future, humans will have six fingers!

I had serious doubts about Madame's Celeste's prediction. After all, for the basic body plan to change, not only do you need a random genetic mutation that results in a sixth finger, but that mutation must also provide an evolutionary advantage when it comes to reproduction. I just didn't see what you could do with six fingers that you couldn't do with five.

She then reassured me that this sixth finger would be considered incredibly attractive, to the point that the rest of us will only want to mate with six-fingered people. In that case, having six fingers would definitely give a reproductive advantage, and that would definitely guarantee that the gene for six fingers will pass to future generations.

However, I still have doubts about the quality of Madame's Celeste's psychic ability. What about the fact that organisms don't tend to have extra body parts? After all, generating and maintaining extra organs and tissues uses up a lot of energy that could be better spent on reproduction.

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