Let us contemplate the foot.

Much has been made of the opposable thumb. It allows us to better grasp objects, hitchhike, and flick things. It is what separates us from most of the other creatures on this planet. But before the thumb could evolve, the human race needed the foot.

Yes, the foot! This noble extremity allowed our water-dwelling ancestors to crawl from the muck and establish themselves on dry land. It was the means by which Marco Polo traveled from Italy to China, in order to bring spaghetti to Europe. So let's give a big hand to our feet, and spend a little bit of time appreciating this often neglected, but necessary, part of the anatomy.

If you like feet, really, really really like feet, then there are probably other web sites more suited to your tastes, you degenerate you! But if you're simply glad that you have feet, then stick around, and maybe you'll learn something.

Why are we saluting the foot? We're glad you asked. The folks here at LeapToad Enterprises have recently come across two unrelated photographs of four very extraordinary feet. It was immediately obvious to us that these photos belonged on the Internet somewhere. But we needed a theme, something to tie them together. So we decided to compose a bunch of nonsensical paragraphs about feet.

It has been said that the foot is the precursor to the shoe. That means, if feet had not evolved, there would have been no need for the shoe! That, of course, would have been a tragedy, as thousands of miles of shelf space in shoe stores and shopping malls across the world would be standing empty right now. Imagine Holland without wooden shoes! O.J. Simpson without his Bruno Magli's. And the Little Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe would have been homeless. (Although it would be hard to muster up any sympathy for the Little Old Woman. She was, simply put, a child-abusing harpy who whipped her children soundly before putting them to bed at night.) And let us not forget Imelda Marcos!

Also, without feet, there would be no need for socks, either. There would be nothing to hang by the fireplace on Christmas Eve. Chelsea Clinton's cat would be nameless. The world would be filled with anarchy and chaos.

Feet have given us more than socks and shoes. They have also given us toes, ankles, heels, and soles. And toenails, and bunions, and corns. These are commonly known as "feet components." The most famous heel in history probably belonged to a mythological guy named Achilles, who was invulnerable everywhere but in his heel. Joe DiMaggio's heel (or at least, its bone spur) was immortalized in Ernest Hemmingway's The Old Man and the Sea. The most famous toenail in history? We have no idea. Why don't you tell us? Write to us at .

By now you're probably wondering, "What about those two extraordinary photographs you promised me earlier?" Well, your patience is appreciated, and is about to be rewarded. We have an interesting photograph of a bare foot, belonging to somebody known only as "Girl H." And we also have a photo of shoes unlike any you've ever seen before. Shoes that are not easily forgotten. They are known simply as "The Shoes" and, more specifically, as "Norman's Shoes."