Thursday, February 12, 2015

Was evolution kind to knitters?

This is what happened after my husband said he'd like some socks.
Today is Darwin Day, a celebration of the birthday of Charles Darwin who revolutionized our understanding of where we came from with Origin of the Species. So in honor of this day so near and dear to bio-geeks and other science nerds everywhere, I want to bring up my favorite topic opposable toes.

Loosely looking along the tree of life, you can follow our branch up and see a few forks. Along such forks are critters with feet that can actually grasp stuff.  Now opposable thumbs are all the rage for being humans and makes knitting and other crafts possible. But could you imagine if, rather than walking out of the forest onto the plains, our forebears stayed in the shade and managed to keep the opposable toes? Could you imagine all the knitting we could get done with two sets of hands?

Of course, opposable toes would but a crimp in sock knitting.  I mean, socks would have to be more like gloves or mittens. Heck, we'd need two sets of hands just to keep up. And shoes? They'd be pretty weird looking, though we wouldn't know it because weird would be normal.

So maybe it's good opposable toes were selected out.

But a prehensile tail, well that would be nice.  It would come in handy to be able to hang upside down to knit on occasion without needing to be a gymnast. Plus a long prehensile tail would come in handy passing pretty skeins around at the stitch n' bitch. We wouldn't have to stop knitting! We could just use our tails to pass it from knitter to knitter! And we'd probably have to knit tail socks too in great fun colors!

So nature, some of the things we lost in our million or so year climb up the tree from our small vole-like ancestors might have come in handy for knitters. And it would have been nice if that whole carpal tunnel situation had been selected out. But I'm glad we turned out smart enough to develop orthopedic surgeons. And knitting. Especially sock knitting.

No comments:

Post a Comment