[ 2006-09-04 13:42 ]
No one has a firm grasp as to why the middle finger, the impedicus, is
the longest finger on each hand.
This Latin word, in translation, means impudent, bold, and immodest, but
points us in the wrong direction in solving this mystery, as the name, and the
lewd gestures commonly made with
this finger, in no way explain its length.
The impedicus itself has a Latin name for being the longest, which is
mesaxonic, meaning middle axis. Mesaxonic lends a little more assistance in the
quest for an explanation for the middle finger's length.
Evolutionary physiologists cling to the symmetry theory, based upon their
studies of the evolutionary reasons for the inner workings of animals' bodies.
Experts in this field hold that the longer third finger is most likely a vestige
of our ancestors' paws, and state the need for balance as the primary reason for
Their esteemed colleagues, evolutionary morphologists, who study the evolutionary aspects
of the shape and of the structures of bodies, also adhere to the theory of
symmetry, but tack an additional aspect onto this theory, one they refer to as
the "geometry of closing." The geometry of closing is merely scientific jargon
for the fact that when the hand closes to form a fist, all fingers touch the
palm of the hand at the same time. This way, when they grasp an object, they all
share the work equally. Simply put, the fingers on our hands differ in length,
because this particular shape works so well, and has done so for millions of
Anthropologists, in general, disagree with the balancing act behind the
theory of symmetry. Their underlying reason for disputing this theory is that,
in their studies of human evolution, they have encountered other primates, man's
closest, hairiest relatives, who have longer fourth fingers. Anthropologists,
however, do not pose a counter theory to the most commonly held one. Until they
do, the theory of symmetry wins hands down!
（英语点津 Annabel 编辑）