Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Today I learnt...That cats have thumbs #Mashmedia

At #Mashmedia today I learnt that cats have thumbs...

...no really they do.  At first I was skeptical "surely not" "why would that even be necessary?"
So, I headed home with these questions swirling round my head.  Wondering what oracle to consult.

Sharing stories of geek wonder from my day at the conference with my friend Holly the conversation naturally turned to the hilarious Cravendale cat videos, which @Rooreynolds had shown at #MashMedia.  I explained to Holly that the idea was inspired by one cat, of YouTube fame, who had thumbs and could give things a 'thumbs up' - if he felt inclined to that it is.

Then the clanger, "my cousin bred those" said Holly.
"Thumbs?!" said I.
 "No, said Holly* Maine Coon cats."

So thanks to Holly, today's Oracle, I learnt that Maine Coon cats have an extra digit sometimes known as a thumb.  According to wikipedia this is congenital physical anomaly called polydactyly (or polydactylism, also known as hyperdactyly), a type of cat body type genetic mutation, that caused the cat to be born with more than the usual number of toes on one or more of its paws

Apparently this helps them balance on the snow!

So that's today's lesson - Cats have thumbs.

* tactilely ignoring the daft question.

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