Science gets a grip on finger wrinkles

2013-01-09 08:31
Getting pruney fingers from soaking in the bath is an evolutionary advantage. (File)

Getting pruney fingers from soaking in the bath is an evolutionary advantage. (File) (Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - Getting pruney fingers from soaking in the bath is an evolutionary advantage, for it helps us get a better grip on objects under water, scientists suggested on Wednesday.

Digit puckering was long thought to be caused by a swelling of the outer layers of skin on the fingertips and toes, but recent research showed it was actually a nervous system response to immersion in water.

The purpose, though, was a mystery.

A team from the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University tested the usefulness of wrinkling by human volunteers handling wet objects with creased and uncreased fingers.

Those who had their hands immersed in warm water for 30 minutes were much faster than those with dry digits in a test that entailed picking up glass marbles and lead fishing weights between thumb and index finger and transferring them from one container to another.

Evolutionary adaption

"We have shown that wrinkled fingers give a better grip in wet conditions," research leader Tom Smulders said of the findings.

"It could be working like treads on your car tyres which allow more of the tyre to be in contact with the road and gives you a better grip."

Smulders said the wrinkling was probably an evolutionary adaption, possibly to improve mobility on wet surfaces.

"This would explain why it happens to both hands and feet, and might have been an adaptation in some primate ancestor well before humans evolved, who might have walked on all fours," he said.

It may also have been useful in gathering food from wet vegetation or streams.

The study found that wrinkling had no adverse impact on the handling of dry objects, which raises the question why we do not have permanently creased fingers and toes.

Finger wrinkling may carry a cost, though, by diminishing fingertip sensitivity, Smulders added.
- SAPA

Read more on:    science  |  health  |  research
NEXT ON NEWS24X

US biolab mishaps probed

2014-07-28 22:06

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
5 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Monday Kuils River - 17:34 PM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit
  • Sunday Parow - 08:10 AM
    Road name: Mike Pienaar Boulevard
    WEEKENDS - ROAD CLOSED between Voortrekker Road and Tienie Meyer Drive due to roadworks (until end July)
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

DSTV Drifta Mobile Decoder

The Drifta DStv Mobile Decoder lets you enjoy a selection...

From R499.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Something may come up to alert you of your security needs. It may be that you need to create a better structure for your finances...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.