Most creatures have 5 fingers, why do pandas have 6 fingers?

2020-01-24 | Zhong Ming talks about science original |

Actually, the panda has only five real fingers, and its sixth finger is a "pseudo thumb". The reason why it is called a pseudo thumb is that this finger has no bone and only has a meat pad. For specific reasons, we alsoSpeaking of it from a carnivore to a herbivore.

Why does the panda have the "6th" finger?

We know that early pandas were carnivores. Later, due to genetic mutation and loss of umami taste, pandas began to eat plants for a living. But unlike ordinary herbivores, foods that pandas eatIt is bamboo, which needs to be fixed with fingers, that is, grasped in order to eat.

However, the pandas in the carnivorous period do not need to fix their prey when eating prey, so they can eat, so the panda did not show the sixth "finger" at the beginning.

The original five fingers of the giant panda did not have a grasping function, which would cause the giant panda to encounter difficulties in eating bamboo. It may be that during evolution, an individual in the giant panda family has had genetic mutations.This led to the emergence of the sixth pseudo-thumb. This trait was retained and reproduced from generation to generation, as this trait can help pandas better adapt to eating.

In addition to the giant panda, the red panda also has the sixth finger like the giant panda. The reason for the evolution is actually similar to the giant panda. It is for the convenience of grasping. Scientists have sequenced their genes.Observation found that they have no kinship, and each has a sixth finger.

The evolution of the same function independently evolved among different organisms, which is called convergence evolution in biology, and the driving force is all for the convenience of eating.

Actually, we can look at dogs. Dogs do n’t need to grasp when eating, so they have not evolved into thumb-like structures. Their fingers cannot be grasped. Therefore, when using the cheekbones, two arms are used to fix it.. And pandas can be done with only one hand.

In fact, among animals, animals that need to be grasped to eat will evolve similar to human thumbs, such as monkeys, chimpanzees, etc., their finger structure is very similar to humans.It ’s so convenient to use food or to use tools, so that some scientists believe that if there is another civilization in the universe, then that civilization must have the same structure as a human hand.

This is because a hand with grasping ability can use tools to change the surrounding environment, so that the environment is more conducive to self-survival.

Does the panda's fake finger evolve into a real finger?

Early before Darwin, a scientist put forward the theory of evolution, and he is Lamarck. He believes that the law of biological evolution is: use advancement and abolition, gain inheritance.

We can use the panda as an example, which means that the panda didn't have the sixth finger, but in the day after tomorrow, it needs a thumb to fix food, so the sixth fake finger evolved, andThis trait can be passed on to her next generation through inheritance.

Of course, now Lamarck's theory of evolution has been replaced, because scientists have discovered that the evolution of living things is not used to retreat, acquire inheritance, but: natural selection, survival of the fittest.

More importantly, there is no clear direction for biological evolution. It is not that the giant panda evolved its fingers because it was inconvenient to eat bamboo. Instead, a gene of a giant panda was mutated, which just caused the individual.He obtained the sixth pseudo-finger, and survived because he adapted to the environment.

From this point of view, the pandas will not necessarily evolve the 6th real finger in the future, because the evolution has no direction, and the rate of genetic mutation is very slow. Various factors have caused the panda to want to obtainThe 6th finger has higher difficulty.


The pandas do n’t have a real sixth finger. The sixth “finger” on their body is a fake finger. There is no joint structure of the fingers. There is only a meat pad. But this meat pad can help them fix food, which is more convenient.To eat.

In fact, quite a few creatures have evolved the sixth pseudo-finger, such as: red panda, elephant, etc. This phenomenon is called convergence evolution in biology.

According to the laws of biological evolution, there is no clear evolution direction for organisms, coupled with the very low probability of genetic mutations, the very slow rate of genetic mutations, and many other factors, leading to the future giant pandas to evolve the true sixth fingerThe probability is very low.

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