At the far end of our limbs we have the necessary appendages to propel our bodies through the water. We begin our lives floating in an oceanic body of fluids called the amniotic universe in a symbiotic unity with mother and child where we experience a “lack of boundaries and obstructions” akin to how we feel immersed in open waters.
The origin of our aquatic nature is suggested by Charles Darwin when he asked, “What can be more curious than that the hand of a man?” Our fingers typing on a keyboard began their journey over 350 million years ago when some tetrapod held its head high enough above the waterline to catch its prey. That’s when its evolutionary “modification of gene expression” realized there was another world.
While we no longer swim with the fishes we can whenever we want to, thanks to our intermediate family of fish ancestors who became us, and all other vertebral creatures on and above the land. It was on the area of “seabed around a large landmass where the sea is relatively shallow compared with the open ocean” that our ancestors with limb-like fins began to climb the slope that led to the solid footing we call land.
Through our ancient cartilage surfaces forming the peripheral processes of development we evolved the “joints,” without which, we could never grasp a tree limb, do a breaststroke, hit a home run, hold a baby or climb a mountain.
With our feet on the ground the evolution of biological processes configured the dynamics of our fellow four-footed creatures for forward-motion, with the two eyes, two nostrils and two feet that took them where they wanted to go and become one with the earth’s atmospheric protective envelope. Thus the front two feet faced us forward as it has always been one-foot at a time. And, like the large shoals of minnows we bob and weave air-swimming around each other in a perpetual contest to be the first and last man standing. The pioneers of evolution no longer took comfort in the small minnow that got lost in the crowd, and was not a game fish for the catch.
From the depiction of the ancient Egyptian bas relief “Cave of Swimmers” ten thousand years ago to the establishment of modern competitive sports that began in Great Britain in 1837, our upper limbs can raise their jointed hands to touch the face of the shape-shifting future.