Why Do We Have Nails?


Quick Answer

Humans have nails for protecting the tip of the digit, and the digital appendage is a leftover trait from your distant ancestors. Most vertebrates have keratinized structures composed of the same elements as horns. The hard layer provides protection against direct impact to the tips of fingers and toes.

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Full Answer

The nails on your toes and fingers are remnants from the evolution process. Former primates used nails to dig or scratch, similar to animals with claws. Primates only have nails on the top of the finger or toe to retain sensitivity in the pad of the fingertip. Monkeys, apes and humans have nails on their fingers and toes.

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