Suppose you haven't hit your nails so the white spots are due to Leukonychia.

Are the discoloration i.e. the white spots due to lower porosity (less minerals absorbing) or some other factor? I cannot understand their physiobiological chareterisation and why are they created due to evolutionary terms? To show a person that he is lacking minerals? Or why do some people have them?


closed as primarily opinion-based by Chris, fileunderwater, ddiez, AliceD, rg255 Dec 17 '14 at 9:54

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Do you have any reason to believe there is an evolutionary purpose? Having nail spots don't seem like a fitness increasing feature. $\endgroup$ – March Ho Dec 16 '14 at 22:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You just stated the person develops the white spots because he hit his nail. Does he get them because he struck his finger, or because he's missing something? Why do some people have them? Or, does everybody have them but don't injure their nails at the same time? Please think about what you're asking. One of the most important principles in science is to ask, and answer (by collecting evidence) one question at a time. $\endgroup$ – anongoodnurse Dec 17 '14 at 0:34
  • $\begingroup$ @MarchHo There are different kinds of white shapes: lines, gathered things, surfaces -- what they tell to each person I have no clue. Absorbing not perfect yes due to multiple reasons: diseases affecting absorption rate directly, allergen reactions in which body does not absorb things -- body is all the time in certain mode. Are they really just stochastic noise or is there some real purpose for them like signalling bad nutrition? Has nature developed some mechanism to nails that we should look at to help us somehow? $\endgroup$ – hhh Dec 18 '14 at 5:17

This is a common misunderstanding from newcomers in evolutionary biology. Not every trait is the result of an adaptation. Evolution is way more than just natural selection and is not as deterministic as you may think. There is stochasticity inherent to mutational processes and there is stochasticity in reproductive success (called genetic drift). This seemingly totally unrelated post may help you getting a quick grasp of what are the stochastic processes in evolution.

The white spots you observe very likely do not result from an adaptive process but it just happen to be the way it is. For the physiology part (but this would be the subject of another question) I have no idea what drives these white spots.

  • $\begingroup$ Good point +1! I totally missed the stochastic nature, it would be super cool to understand this process better. $\endgroup$ – hhh Dec 18 '14 at 5:14

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.