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Claws vs. Nails - Matthew Borths

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TEDEd Animation

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Consider the claw. Frequently found on animals around the world, it’s one of nature’s most versatile tools. Bears use claws for digging as well as defense. An eagle’s needle-like talons can pierce the skulls of their prey. Even the ancestors of primates used to wield these impressive appendages, until their claws evolved into nails. So what caused this adaptation? Matthew Borths investigates.

Humans do no regularly live in trees, a trait that makes us different from many other primates. But, we still have nails. What are some hypotheses you can think of that might explain why humans still have nails?

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Mattew Borths
  • Director Nabil Burias
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Animator Nabil Burias
  • Producer Aaron Augenblick
  • Music GDM Production Music
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Associate Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Script Editor Emma Bryce
  • Fact-Checker Eden Girma, Joseph Isaac

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