In Alien Hands
by Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider
Many alien looks in Star Trek essentially comprise a forehead make-up or some spots painted into the face. This is the method of choice under technical and budgetary production restraints, because the face is the foremost distinguishing mark among human beings and hence between humans and alien species as well. But there is one other body part that is frequently modified with special alien make-up: the hand. This small article provides an overview of the variations of hands that could be seen in Star Trek.
Most humanoid aliens have five fingers just like humans.
Suckers Some alien species have vacuum cups on their fingertips.
Openings Other aliens exhibit openings or pores on the backs of their hands, preferably above the knuckles.
Spikes Many species can be seen with spiky extensions on the backs of their hands. Here are just some examples.
Varied backs There is a diversity of other modifications to the back of the hand.
Long fingers Some aliens have considerably longer fingers than human beings.
Other variations There are some more variations among the aliens with five fingers.
Fingernail colors Finally, while their hands look basically human, the fingernails of some alien species have distinct colors.
Certainly one way to create a distinct alien look is to give a species more than five fingers or less.
Six fingers Six fingers per hand seem to be a very rare trait.
Four fingers We know of one special case where the thumb and the forefinger are coalesced.
|The Yridian thumb is grown together with the forefinger. Hence, they are four-fingered (TNG: "Birthright I", DS9: "Business as Usual"). There are also Yridians with five fingers though.|
Races with Changing Faces - Yridians
Three fingers There is a variety of three-fingered hands or claws.
|The Traveler from Tau Alpha C possesses just three fingers (TNG: "Where No One Has Gone Before", "Remember Me").|
|Caldonians have three fingers, which are usually adorned by rings (TNG: "The Price").|
|Antedeans have three fingers too, with big white fingernails or claws (TNG: "Manhunt").|
|The inhabitants of Tarchannen III have three fingers (and three toes). It is one of the first steps in the transformation process into such a creature that the three central fingers of an affected humanoid grow together (TNG: "Identity Crisis").|
|The Solanogen-based lifeforms exhibit three fingers with long, insect-like claws (TNG: "Schisms").|
|Reptohumanoids have three fingers with reptilian claws (VOY: "Parturition").|
|Furthermore the dinosaur-like Voth have just three fingers (VOY: "Distant Origin").|
|The M-113 creature (the "Salt Vampire") exhibits a multitude of suckers on its three fingers (TOS: "The Man Trap").|
|The CGI Gorn in ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II" has three fingers. The Gorn captain in TOS: "Arena", however, had five.|
Races with Changing Faces - Gorn
Two fingers These races have a thumb, and the other fingers are coalesced to one.
|The Malcorians possess no more than a separate thumb, while the remaining fingers are all grown together (TNG: "First Contact").|
|Likewise, the Parada have just two fingers (DS9: "Whispers").|
Anomalies Two races that don't fit into the other categories.
|Vidiian hands are as diverse as the species from which the disease-ridden Vidiians steal them. The hands look just as cluttered as the rest of their bodies.|
|Tellarite hands are inconsistent. They can be seen with three-fingered claws in TOS and with human-like hands on their later appearances.|
Races with Changing Faces - Tellarites