Walking, running and skipping with just four toes may be easier than you think.
"If you're born without a pinky toe or have an accident and it's removed, you can completely do everything you wanted to do," Dr. Anne Holly Johnson, instructor in orthopaedic surgery at Harvard Medical School, says.
So why do we have pinky toes?
The answer goes back to the evolutionary history of humans, explains Dr. Anish Kadakia, assistant professor in orthopaedic surgery at Northwestern University.
"Primates use their feet to grab, claw, to climb trees, but humans, we don't need that function anymore," Kadakia says. "Clearly we're not jumping up and down trees and using our feet to grab. We have toes embryologically, evolutionary for that particular reason because we descended from apes, but we don't need them as people."
While our feet no longer help us grab, they help us stand--especially important are the bones that connect our toes to our ankle.
We owe our balance to the 26 bones that make up the hindfoot, midfoot and forefoot. The forefoot contains the toes. The big toe has two major bones and the rest have three little bones. The toes connect to the midfoot by five long bones called metatarsals, one for each toe. The metatarsals are similar to our knuckles. The hindfoot connects to the midfoot by cuneiform and cuboid bones. These are connected to the ankle bone, the talus.
Though all the bones in the foot come together to form the structure of the foot, the main bones responsible for our balance are the metatarsals, explains Dr. Wenjay Sung, attending physician at White Memorial Medical Group.
"We walk like a tripod fashion, where the big toe knuckle, the fifth toe knuckle and the heel, have a tripod walking ability," Sung says. "If you remove one part of that tripod, you lose balance."
So even though the pinky toe itself has no functional value, removing the metatarsal would make running, walking and skipping nearly impossible.
This story was produced in partnership with Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. For more FYIs, go here.
Another goofy explanation brought to you by a dying hypothesis.
I do not understand you comment, are you trolling? What supportive details do you offer to the article? Perhaps your should be blocked?
Are you really trying to label the Theory of Evolution as a "dying hypothesis?" Which century are you living in?
Well, as I sit right now, in my chair with my bare feet on the floor crossed over each other, I notice that its my pinky toe kind of grasping or clawing the rug fibers to keep my anterior foot, which is almost on its side, from slipping. I suppose if the pinky toe was missing, that the fourth toe would be able to serve the same purpose. But I'm glad it doesn't need to.
Today's magic is tomorrow's technology.
I'll keep my pinky toe around for a bit. But what about the toenails - can humans walk, run, and skip if you remove the toenail?
@ Bagpipes 100
I wouldn't say that it is a dying hypothesis I would rather say evolution is a growing religion, something that many students are taught as fact eventhough scientist have not been able to prove it through by fossils or lab experiments. Every piece of the human body such as the tonsils and the appendix, scientist have later confirmed that we actually need it. Every animal on the the face of earth was fashioned with intent. Hundreds of years of research has been performed on the human body and we still don't fully understand it or even the most simplest of organisms. So quite natuarally we are not experts on knowing how we were made or where we come from. What I do like about evolutionist is that they have faith because it takes faith to believe in something in which proof is not apparent.
If we just grow out tails back we have another way of making a tripod for standing!
So why did the tail go awaay in humans?
No such thing as Darwinian evolution. When is the media going to move on from the mythology and onto modern science? I will pose three questions as proof of the Darwinian fraud:-
1) How did life come to be on this planet? I don't want tautologies such as "It was the origin of the first self replicating molecule". I don't want theories, ideologies, ifs and maybes. I want the scientifically proven and demonstrable MECHANISM.
2) Demonstrate the MECHANISM whereby a liver changes into a lung, or a dog into a giraffe. I don't want waffle such as "enzymes do this or that", or “we believe” fairy stories. I want the proven, repeatable factual MECHANISM; where the molecules are built and how.
3) Give an example, ANY example, of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which can be seen to increase the information in the genome.
Here's a hint: anybody who can produce the FACTUAL proof to any of these simple questions will be the next Nobel Prize winner.
Darwinism is a Cult, not a science. Thankfully the scientific world is leaving it behind.
So to you an Alien/God creator is more believable than evolution? How can you dismiss that theory so easily but keep the other?
As to your first question, the answer would begin with a few molecules so you eliminate the only possible answer. Also, I don't think a liver could change into a lung... And for your #3 people are born with extra chromosomes all the time. They tend to be a bit slower than normal though.