A Multitude of Hands: My new essay for National Geographic

By Carl Zimmer | April 27, 2012 11:26 am

In the May issue of National Geographic, I contemplate the hand. Human hands are unique and versatile–and yet we are far from the only animals with them. By looking at the variety of hands in nature, we can see some of the most striking evidence of how evolution tinkers in all sorts of unexpected way. Check it out.

The print version is accompanied by lovely sketches of a wide range of hands. If you read the story online, you can see an animation of the human hand. And if you have the National Geographic iPad app, you can see videos of other hands, from frogs to aye-ayes.

[Image: White -handed gibbon by Ingo Arndt, on Arkive.]

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Evolution, Writing Elsewhere

Comments (2)

  1. Wow. I got to your blog through one of those very bizarre links the internet facilitates so well – an email from Marina Orlova, well-known personality behind “hot for words” on the word ‘hippopotomonstrosesquipedalianism‏’, which led me to your blog entry on long words, from where I got to this article where you reveal you’re the writer of the fascinating article I read in Nat. Geog. Just two days ago! I loved the article, as an evolutionary biology enthusiast I love that such diverse mammals have something so fundamental in common, I also loved the photography, absolutely gorgeous.

    So thank you internt, it’s not often I unintentionally get to thank a writer whose work I enjoy.

  2. Hi, do you have a link to the National Geographc Ipad app? Ive serached for it but have not found it. and I love the article :)

    [CZ: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ipad ]

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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.

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