Thumbs are fingers, too


Holly Bill, Editor

I remember the day in second grade when one of my classmates held up her hand in front of me and asked me how many fingers she had on her hand. I said five, because ever since I could count, I knew I had five fingers on each hand and five toes on each foot.

“No! You’re wrong,” she said at me, “The thumb isn’t a finger.” I didn’t believe her. Many more of my friends asked me the same question multiple times in elementary school. Each time, I insisted that the thumb is a finger, and I still stand by that today.

The difference between your thumb and the other fingers on your hand is the number of joints and phalanges, or bones. The thumb only has one joint and two phalanges, as opposed to the two joints and three phalanges your other fingers have in common. But that doesn’t mean the thumb isn’t a finger. Think of your big toe. Your big toe has the same joint and bone structure as your thumb, unlike your other toes that have two joints and three phalanges. However, your big toe still has the word toe after big, so people obviously consider your big toe a toe. So it doesn’t make sense for your thumb to not be considered a finger, just because the joint and bone structure is different.

Some would say that the thumb isn’t a finger because it’s opposable, unlike your other fingers. Think back to the big toe scenario. Chimpanzees, apes and other primates have an opposable big toe. And their big toe is still a toe, so why isn’t a thumb a finger?

Just because your thumb may look a little different than your other fingers doesn’t mean it’s not a finger. It has fingernails and fingerprints just like all of your other fingers. You have ten fingers and ten toes and that is that.

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