Anatomy Atlas Part 14 – Hand Muscles

Several of my pictures are about hands, one way or the other. I liked drawing hands. Not so dissecting them.

What I said about watching human heads sans skin in formaldehyde being creepy goes doubly so for hands. Mucking around in someones guts left me cold, but dead hands I have found disconcerting. In many aspects a human hand is much more intimate than, not to put a too fine a point on it, genitals. Genitals in a jar are just another organ. A hand is a part of someone’s life in a much more profound way.

©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Human hands are a marvel. Their flexibility is nearly unsurpassed in the animal kingdom and they are extremely good in their ability to grasp things ranging from feathers and eggs to sticks and stones. But what people generally do not know is that the strength of the hand does not lie in the muscles in the palm. Palm muscles  only position the fingers and shape the palm, but what curls and straightens the fingers – and thus gives them strength – ale muscles of the forearm, whose tendons go under a series of ligaments to the base of the last digit segment like ropes through pulleys.

I have also found that many people do not realize that the smallest of fingers – the pinky – is essential for strong grip. Without pinky it would be difficult to get a firm grip on a tool or a weapon, be it a hammer or a chisel, an axe or a sword.

The one interesting thing that Professor Kos has mentioned and I remember is the muscle Musculus palmaris longus. This muscle is not present in all people, and in some people it is present only in one hand. Its absence has no ill effect whatsoever, so from evolutionary point of view it seems to be a neutral trait.


  1. Ice Swimmer says

    A hand is a part of someone’s life in a much more profound way.

    So true. Most of the work we do is with the hands, and so are most of the things at home. And as we don’t have the kind of whiskers rats and cats have, we have to use our fingertips if we can’t see (because of insufficient light or blindness).

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