Good Questions: Toenails, Cranes, Sneezes

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Every Friday, we tackle a bunch of viewers’ burning questions. This week, Heather Brown explores toenails, construction cranes and sneezing etiquette.

Alan from Apple Valley asked: Why do we have finger and toenails?

We have fingernails because we’re primates. Our ancestors used them to climb up on the small branches and scratch themselves.

We have toenails because they’re basically the same thing as fingernails: our toes used to be fingers. They may not do much anymore and could eventually go away, but that will probably be millions of years from now.

Victoria, age 2-and-a-half, asked: How tall are the cranes?

There are 12 cranes out there, and most of them are between 225 and 310 feet. The biggest one can extend up to 600 feet. On a clear day, the crane operators can see 15 miles away.

Cassi from Bemidji wants to know: Why do we say bless you after people sneeze?

We don’t really know, but here are a couple of theories:

No. 1, people used to think your heart skipped beat when you sneezed — but it doesn’t.

No. 2, the tradition started back in the Roman era during the plague. Saying, ‘Bless you,’ could be a way of warding off the plague.

And No. 3, sneezes were thought to expel spirits from the body. A blessing would protect you and others around you.

More from Heather Brown
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