Why Do Humans Have Fingernails?

Have you ever looked down at your hands (perhaps while they were being painted in a nail salon) and thought: why do we have nails? One of the mysteries of human evolution, scientists are still debating whether or not they're a leftover, flattened version of claws, or a completely separate adaptation.

When you think of all the things your fingernails help do, it makes sense that evolutionary adaptation didn't eliminate them (unlike the tail). You can peel an orange easily, undo knots, scratch an itch, and pick your nose, all with the help of fingernails. They can even function as an early warning sign of potential malnutrition or health risks.

And how about toenails? Why do we have toenails? Early humans were thought to use all four limbs for climbing, and toenails definitely help with gripping (think about longer, thick, claw-like nails that early humans would have had). Useful back then, but why do we still have toenails? Why do humans have nails, period? Read on to discover all the fascinating reasons why humans have nails!