01 May 2010

thumbs in the animal kingdom

i wonder which animal would most benefit from opposable thumbs. i got lost thinking about all animals, so i narrowed it down to animals with four legs (because animals with six are set, and usually have wings as well, and eight-legged animals creep me out).

my dog was lying next to me on the floor, so i thought, 'why not dogs?' but then he started licking himself, and i thought, 'nah...he's good.' bigt cats seem to get along well enough without them (leopards can carry twice their body weight into a tree with their mouth); house cats are devious enough without them. most animals that spend some time on two legs (like kangaroos) have semi-opposable thumbs. primates have opposable thumbs on hands and feet. alligators and bears are scary enough, and at the top of the food chain. penguins' only real danger is in the water, where thumbs don't do much good. most reptiles can carry/climb/hunt/defend with their mouths, poison and hands and feets without opposable thumbs.

the more i think about it, the more i can see most animals not only without benefit, but maybe at a disadvantage if given opposable thumbs. they kind of stick out from the hand like a ...nah, i won't go there. but i jam mine all the time, and get it hung on stuff, and roll on it, and then i'm somewhat incapacitated without it. right now i have a chunk of skin missing from my sprained left thumb (indoor soccer and frisbee), and a cut on my jammed right thumb (dinner and bjj), and that made breakfast difficult to eat this morning. and that's not being clumsy, just athletic (except for the cut, but sometimes my kitchen is a war zone while cooking dinner). and think...a lot of animals that you think might benefit from opposable thumbs are really clumsy. they don't need that extra opportunity for injury in their lives.

what i need to find is a truly pathetic, somewhat helpless, although coordinated enough to handle a semi-vulnerable appendage that can actually benefit from its many gifts without being dependent to the point of total incapacitation if and when the thumb becomes the subject of injury. any suggestions?

also, cocoa krispies makes awesome chocolate milk.

1 comment:

Robbie said...

I am pretty sure anything in the family of ferret, weasel, or raccoon would find thumbs a welcome addition. Not only are they agile enough to not be clumsy with their new digit, but they are particularly found of getting into things and making trouble which would be made much easier with the use of thumbs.

Also, I would have to disagree with you on the bears issue. Da Bears would certainly benefit from the use of thumbs because rather than just swiping at things they could actually pick them up. This would make it much easier to steal honey and picnic baskets.

And I know that sharks don't even have arms or hands, but can you Imagen a shark with thumbs? Thats some scary stuff.