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What would the most advantageous alternate thumb orientation be? I.E. on the underside of the hand, in the middle of the wrist, or in between the fingers (replacing the middle finger). Would there be a strong advantage to having multiple opposible thumbs (i.e. one on each side of the fingers or even two next to each other)?

And how would this orientation affect things like weapons and key interfaces (positively or negatively)?

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  • $\begingroup$ I think you have three separate questions here. You might want to narrow it down. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Nov 17 '15 at 2:10
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    $\begingroup$ The middle finger approach would stop it being opposable right? That's a big disadvantage. $\endgroup$ – FraserOfSmeg Nov 17 '15 at 3:38
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    $\begingroup$ See this answer. It speaks to your question exactly, as well. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Nov 17 '15 at 4:17
  • $\begingroup$ One interesting note: our hands are extrordinarially well constructed to do two actions. We can hold a stick (like the handle of a hammer), and we can throw a ball (letting it roll off the tips of the index and middle fingers like a baseball throw). There's all sorts of little details that make those two actions ideal. What actions are you looking to have your alien race do? The actions will really help you decide how to orient the digits. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Nov 20 '15 at 0:57
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Two thumbs, one in the same place ours always is, and a second coming out of the opposite side of the hand, still opposable in the exact opposite way as our current thumb. This, so you can still use the hand to lay flat against an object, but you can also grasp objects that much better, or even in the case of weak broomstick shaped objects, break them easily with one hand. Most existing human weapons and hand tools would be fully compatible with such an appendage, with some gaining usefulness, and almost none being negatively impacted.

Full fingerprinting recording and matching systems would have to be changed to add the two additional potential prints, but most biometric security systems could remain unchanged. Most biometric locks only rely on a single fingerprint to unlock.

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  • $\begingroup$ May broomstick-shaped objects cower in fear! But for real. Thanks for the great answer! $\endgroup$ – Goose Nov 20 '15 at 1:37

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