Research

Which animals have six fingers and why are they needed?

In humans, like most primates, in their handsthere are exactly five fingers. It is believed that this feature of the design of our body was transmitted to us from the most ancient ancestor of all terrestrial vertebrate creatures. During evolution, some species of animals lost some fingers and even limbs, but among them there are those who received more than five fingers. For example, cats, pandas and elephants belong to them, but recently another animal has been included in the number of six-fingered. It turned out to be a lemur of the aye-aye species, living on the territory of the island of Madagascar.

Madagascar handles were opened in 1780 by the French naturalist Pierre Sonner

About the unusual structure of the hands of this strange-lookingcreatures were recently told by scientists from the US state of North Carolina in the scientific journal American Journal of Physical Anthropology. The lemur of the species Daubentonia madagascariensis is also known as the Madagascar arm-neck and leads mainly a nocturnal lifestyle. These primates have huge round eyes, large ears and thick, but ruffled fur. Also, their distinguishing feature is hands with thin fingers, one of which is several centimeters longer than the rest.

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Unusual animal of Madagascar

Thin fingers were given to them for a reason. The fact is that Madagascar arms are mainly fed by insects hiding in tree trunks. To find them, they knock on trees in the hope of discovering free cavities, where various larvae mainly live. It is to get these nutrient creatures that lemurs from Madagascar need long fingers.

Three-dimensional model of the arm of a Madagascar arm

Another interesting feature of MadagascarLemurs is their skillful ability to move around trees. To find out how these small animals manage to stay on branches, researchers from the University of North Carolina decided to carefully study their limbs. To do this, they created three-dimensional models of six individuals of different ages and sexes and began to examine from all sides.

Why do you need a sixth finger?

To my surprise, on the limbs of all sixprimates, scientists found another, sixth finger. It is located next to the thumb, but has a very small size, and therefore not visible to the naked eye. With all this, it is not just some process, but a full finger with the ability to move in three directions with the help of special muscles. Moreover, each of them has its own fingerprint.

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According to researchers, the sixth finger is neededlemurs just to grab hold of tree branches. Other animals also have a similar structure of limbs, but they are intended for completely different purposes. For example, pandas the sixth finger is necessary for the comfortable holding of bamboo. Also, such a design is relevant for moles, which, thanks to it, better dig the ground.

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Besides the fact that Madagascar armsare the first six-finger primates known to man, they have another interesting feature. Despite the fact that they have night vision, they are able to distinguish colors - such a skill, by the way, not a single night animal can boast of.