Written By: Ivey Ingalls-Rubin, Staff Writer
Have you ever been curious about why your fingers and toes shrivel up like dry old prunes when they’re exposed to water for too long? Well research has confirmed the theory that wrinkly fingers improve our ability to grasp wet or submerged objects. The grooves that are created work much like the tread of a tire, and channel away the water.It was believed that the wrinkling was the result of osmosis, which is the passing of water into the outer layer of skin causing swelling. But research, conducted since the 1930s, proved that this simply does not occur when nerve damage is present in the fingers.
In a 2011 study conducted by Mark Changizi, an evolutionary neurobiologist, it was proven that the wrinkling was due to a reaction that triggered the nervous system making the blood vessels constrict. Changizi, along with his colleagues, suggested that the wrinkling, being an active process, must have some kind of evolutionary purpose.
The team also showed that when our fingers are wrinkled it becomes much easier to grasp things underwater. This means that our bodies developed this process through an evolutionary response to the environment.
Another informative article…I had no idea