Why do we have fingernails / toenails?


Recently smashed my finger and lost the nail and it got me wondering what is the biological / mechanical / etc function / reason for fingernails? Sure it would be harder to grip little things, but is there a structural reason why our digits need these things?

EDIT: Follow up question. What is different about the skin underneath your nail that makes it so painful when initially exposed to air?

In: 273

Mostly for grip. You also have to remember the environment that we evolved in. We were hunter-gatherers and nails probably aided in most things related to that.

You lost the nail and kept the finger. Nails act as protection of your finger, so you keep your fingers in case you injure your hand just like you did.

I would almost say exactly that reason…. imagine you didn’t have a nail. Your squishy little meat sack of a finger may have been destroyed.

Nail are like super hard skin that keeps growing fast… they can be for protection like an armor.

Nails evolved from claws. Basically keratin structures currently in place to protect as indicated by other comments here.