What if we could use our feet as hands, with the same dexterity. Assume for the purposes of this question that the lower hand is structurally the same as our existing hands. Also assume that our planet's environment, gravity, structure, ecology, flora, fauna and so forth are also otherwise exactly the same.

Would we still walk upright? Would we live in trees or tree-like buildings? Would this have significantly altered history? At which points? How would our society be organized? Our cities? What do you think would be the most significant change?

As the potential answers for these multiple questions may be rather broad, please choose one aspect to focus on, the one you think most important and significant, and answer that specific question-aspect in a few paragraphs.


closed as too broad by Mikey, Frostfyre, HDE 226868, James, Green Aug 3 '15 at 18:44

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ This is such a bizarre idea I'm having trouble determining if this might be too broad. +1, just for the sheer originality! $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Aug 3 '15 at 14:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This might turn out to be a very broad answer, as having hands for feet probably would have had drastic implications for our evolution as a species. The simple fact that we evolved feet instead is proof of that. That said, there may be some very interesting answers. $\endgroup$ – DaaaahWhoosh Aug 3 '15 at 14:58
  • $\begingroup$ It's been done in quite a few science fiction settings. Either our monkeys uplifted to sentience or aliens with 4 grasping limbs. Planet of the Apes and the Uplift Saga are two that spring to mind immediately. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Aug 3 '15 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ As well, in Aeon Flux, they can be purchased as enhancements. $\endgroup$ – Mikey Aug 3 '15 at 15:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I use my toes to pick stuff up all the time. Drives my wife nuts. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 Aug 3 '15 at 16:30

The first difference is that we would not be able to walk far, or well. The main difference between hominids and other apes is a specialization for fully erect, long duration walking on the ground. This caused the loss of most dexterity on the foot.

A human that specialized the other way would have more mobile hips, knees and legs but ones not as suitable for walking and running on level ground. So it would be a profound difference that would likely lead to the proto-humans remaining a localized species and not spreading world wide.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.