The phenomenon of wrinkles appearing on our fingers in water

30 juillet 2013 | Dans Biology, Science
The phenomenon of wrinkles appearing on our fingers in water

Hands and feet wrinkle if they stay in the water for a long time, this phenomenon is not due to the penetration of water through the pores of the skin, but to a specific nervous command clearly identified by biologists. Indeed, when the body notices that the fingers remained wet for some time, the width of the blood vessels gets reduced by the nervous system decreasing the volume of the hand and since the skin of hands keeps the same size, wrinkles appear.

An experiment conducted by biologists at the University of Newcastle has led to a very interesting result. Volunteers were asked to catch balls of different sizes at the bottom of an aquarium. A comparison was drawn between their performance at the beginning of the experience when their hands were still dry, and their performance after the immersion of their hands in water for thirty minutes. The experiment has shown that movements done by wrinkled hands were 12% faster than those made by dry hands.

Tom Smulders, author of the study, concluded: « If we go back in time, wrinkled fingers could help our ancestors to collect food found in a stream or to gather wetland plants. In our opinion, it is probably an adaptation feature during evolution, which may also concerns locomotion. « 

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