Skip to comments.Elephant's sixth 'toe' discovered
Posted on 12/26/2011 8:28:17 PM PST by SunkenCiv
A mysterious bony growth found in elephants' feet is actually a sixth "toe", scientists report.
For more than 300 years, the structure has puzzled researchers, but this study suggests that it helps to support elephants' colossal weight.
Fossils reveal that this "pre-digit" evolved about 40 million years ago, at a point when early elephants became larger and more land-based.
The research is published in the journal Science.
Lead author Professor John Hutchinson, from the UK's structure and motion laboratory at the Royal Veterinary College, said: "It's a cool mystery that goes back to 1706, when the first elephant was dissected by a Scottish surgeon."
Many people, he said, thought that the structure was a huge lump of cartilage, and over the years its purpose or lack of purpose has been debated.
"Anyone who has studied elephants' feet has wondered about it. They've thought: 'Huh, that's weird,' and then moved on," he added.
But Prof Hutchinson and colleagues used a combination of CT scans, histology, dissection and electron microscopy to solve the puzzle.
The researchers said the structure was made of bone, although bone with a highly irregular and unusual arrangement.
But closer examination also revealed that it showed a strong similarity with an unusual bone that is found in the front feet of pandas.
This bone - which is not quite an extra digit, but does the job of one - helps the panda to grip bamboo, and is called the panda's "thumb" or "sixth finger". Moles too have a bone masquerading as an extra digit, which helps them to dig.
(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.co.uk ...
This CT scan reveals the sixth "toe" - here seen in dark green towards the back on the elephant's foot
In related news, an elephants sex organs are in its feet.
(If he steps on you, you’re f’ed!)...
Camel toe is much more interesting.
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
I may have to start pinging these topics twice, once to each half of the list. The system gives me the half-result page as it has done most of the time these past couple of years, but as of the past few days, pinging fails almost half the time. This is my second attempt at this topic.
Sixth “toe” is for communication!
They used it to dial rotary phones, way back when.....
First thing I did with grand-daughter 2.0 was count fingers and toes, just like I did with grandson 1.0, grandson 2.1 etc....
Why 5? Why not 3? or 7? I've seen critters or people with both.
Insects and spiders seem to do ok with 6 and 8 limbs, mammels seem to have 4...
More stuff that makes you go... "Hmmm. I'm glad I'm not in charge of this stuff"
From my perverse childhood:
Do you know what that stuff is between the elephant’s toes?
Male Worker #1: Nice girl.
Male Worker #2: Yeah, she really is. Too bad about her hands.
[ Sheila looks at her hand sadly, revealing that she has seven fingers on each hand ]
Announcer: You've tried sanding them off. You've tried slamming them off. And mitts only hide the problem. There's no way around it - you've got extra fingers. It's time for Handi-Off. Only Handi-Off contains Leprosin. [ Sheila applies Handi-Off to her extra fingers ] That tingle will tell you it's working. In just three days, unsightly fingers disappear - for good! [ Sheila's extra fingers fall off ]
[ back at the office ]
Male Worker 2: Hey, Sheila. Pick you up at six?
Sheila: Let's make it five! [ holds her hand up to reveal she now has five fingers on each hand, and winks at the camera ]
Announcer: Subtract your extra digits with Handi-Off. Now there's new Toe-Riffic for toes.
Go to your room!
Shibumi will like that....:)
[especially the “oui oui oui” part]
Mon Cherie (Notice the pun?) You know what it does to me when you speak French.......
.......It makes me think of frogs croaking in the swamp in spring ..... The Sound of Romance ..... the Amphilibido.....
before I clicked the link and watched the vid, I was going to say it was an elongated carpal bone on the pinky side of the wrist joint...aka the pisiform bone and not very odd for a mammal.
but the vid clearly show it is not the pisiform carpal bone. The vid shows it is a branch off the metacarpal bone of the pinky finger...aka digit V.
THAT IS STRANGE
uh, cats with extra toes are deformed. This bone on the elephant is not a deformity.
Did you know elephants have striated muscle in their penis?
Q: How do you shoot a blue elephant?
A: With a blue elephant gun, of course.
Q: How do you shoot a red elephant?
A: No, not with a red elephant gun. You strangle him until he turns blue, and then shoot him with a blue elephant gun.
Q: How do you shoot a green elephant?
A: Tell him a dirty joke so he turns red, strangle him until he turns blue, and then shoot him with a blue elephant gun.
There’s an area in Michigan (I forget where exactly, I used to work with someone from there) that has (or had at that time) a high incidence of polydactyl cats. OTOH, when housecats are mated with bobcats (that’s what we call the American lynx in these parts), they always wind up with huge feet, and generally polydactyl as well.
Being an expert on that subject I must admit that thought never entered my mind.......
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