I once had a world religions professor who mentioned that the reason why Buddhist figures are usually depicted with long earlobes is a byproduct of certain sculpture techniques. Namely that as Buddhism started spreading across the continent, to protect sculptures during transportation, some sculptors would have earlobes attached to the head/neck or webbed fingers and toes because they break off easily. And then, over time, the symbolic meanings of those traits were tacked on as a way to explain the sculptures.
I was wondering if someone could confirm that this is the currently accepted explanation. Because if so, presumably there would be other sculptures from that time period that also have those traits?