Short question, what events would induce the evolution from hands of 4 fingers and 1 thumb into hands of 2 fingers and 1 thumb like the hands of Yoda in Start wars?Would be 2 thumbs and 1 finger be better?

Or more like this... cause Yoda has some really tiny hands with short fingersenter image description here

Between it's not necessarily related to humans, but I'm also interested more in wild animals too.

  • $\begingroup$ keep in mind most Therapod dinosaurs only have three fingers on the hand, including the ones that evolved into birds. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Mar 4, 2020 at 23:46

2 Answers 2


There is a congenital defect called oligodactyly which is when an organism is born with fewer fingers and/or toes than normal. If some advantage to this arrangement were to be found by an organism with this condition, and its offspring were more likely to be born with it than not, then you might get speciation. There is some evidence that oligodactyly can be endemic in humans (the Wadoma people of Zimbabwe are known for ectrodactyly, an extreme form of oligodactyly).

Narrower hands would allow access to food in smaller openings, such as bee hives secreted in trunks or animal burrows, without tool-use. There would be disadvantages to grip strength and object manipulation, however.


Hands as we know they are a primate feature. They evolved these so that they would have better grip in their arboreal environment and this went down the like to human hands. There is no steadfast rule for the amount of digits, after the first land vertebrates had 12 fingers, so saying that your species has 3 isn't a real problem. While an arboreal jungle is the best environment for developing hands, theoretically there are a few more;

  1. Cliffs, in areas where there is very little room for error when it comes to grip, ei; cliff faces, having gripping limbs would allow animals to be less likely to fall.
  2. Redwood forests, similar to the jungle reason, being able to swing from tree to tree is a valuable asset.
  • $\begingroup$ 渡し守シャロン asked specifically about the number of fingers being reduced from four to two, not the evolution of hands from non-hands. $\endgroup$
    – rek
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 20:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @rek There is no way to do that, this is as good as it gets $\endgroup$
    – TrEs-2b
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 20:56

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