I am not interested in knowing answers discussing the way I hold a cup of coffee or a pen but bigger perspectives as to how the way of doing activities would affect the world (read: universe) at large.

I would love to know which combination of fingers if we didn't have (one from each limb) would affect our life least and which combination would affect the most?

How would it affect the world if all the 5vers were 4ers?

What are the actions we can or cannot do with less than 5 fingers? If we create a robot or have the power to redesign the human body how important would it be to stick to the 5-finger design?

When possible, any research on the increased dexterity of 5 digits over 4 or less should be included.


closed as primarily opinion-based by Aify, Cadence, L.Dutch, Mark Olson, Blade Wraith Jul 7 '18 at 12:08

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Nothing would change, if only because humans are incapable of significantly affecting the universe until we reach at least Kardashev 2 type civilization $\endgroup$ – Dubukay Jul 7 '18 at 1:04
  • $\begingroup$ Your wording of "...4 fingers (on each of feet and hands)" suggests you may be talking about having fingers on feet, a la the Quaddies in Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold. Are you suggesting prehensile feet or you are still suggesting toes on feet and fingers on hands? $\endgroup$ – KerrAvon2055 Jul 7 '18 at 1:20
  • $\begingroup$ @KerrAvon2055 My bad! Sorry for grammatical errors. Editing. $\endgroup$ – kung_foo Jul 7 '18 at 1:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @KerrAvon2055 I think the OP means digits. You were being both too literal minded and too creative in your reading of the question. $\endgroup$ – a4android Jul 7 '18 at 6:43
  • $\begingroup$ Typing would need to be completely re-worked, theres simply no way that the current QWERTY keyboard would be as affective with four fingers (probably not a problem if you don't touch type though). as for which too loose the ring finger would probably affect you the least, it's by the weakest and not on either end (meaning handles would feel similar). as for where you would put a wedding ring i'd guess the middle or index finger. $\endgroup$ – Ummdustry Jul 7 '18 at 12:02

4 fingers would mean that:

  • People would be slightly less capable of gripping things. But the loss of the little finger is hardly a crippling injury.
  • Damage to any non-thumb finger would be more serious. If you want, you could abort the development of a tool-using species.
  • Perhaps there would be an 8-based number (octal) system. Not much difference in ancient times, except that one needs more paper or bigger clay tablets to write large numbers. But when digital computers come around, that would simplify things.
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry too low rep to just correct "simplify", so had to add something else too. :-( $\endgroup$ – Fabby Jul 7 '18 at 11:08
  • $\begingroup$ You'd need to redesign computer keyboards, and the playing of many musical instruments would be different, and perhaps the range of music would be less complex. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Jul 8 '18 at 4:54

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