Have you ever wondered why your fingers go wrinkly when they have been in water for a while? Well I can tell you that it is not just an annoying side effect of washing up or being in the bath for too long! It is actually believed to be part of human evolution. Scientists believe that our fingers change in water to make gripping objects and surfaces while submerged easier. Scientists from Newcastle University believe that getting wrinkly fingers would have helped people years ago by making it easier for them to gather food from wet vegetation or streams. These scientists carried out a study on whether it was actually easier to grip objects with wrinkly fingers or normal hands under water.
The study they carried out consisted of multiple people trying to pick up objects that were sometimes submerged in water and sometimes dry. The scientists asked some of the subjects to put their hands in warm water for half an hour and others to leave their hands dry. The scientists then tested both groups on their ability to pick up and move objects that were submerged in water and dry. They found that there was no advantages or disadvantages to moving dry objects, but it was much easier and quicker to move wet objects for the people who had wrinkly fingers.
The scientists from Newcastle University also stated that our toes get wrinkly when they have been in water for some time. They believe that this is so we can get better traction when we walk or run on wet conditions. Tom Smulders, who is one of the scientists from the University, says that he plans on carrying out more research to investigate the matter. Even though Mr Smulders plans to carry on his research into why our toes go wrinkly after being in water, he says that it still confuses him as to why we do not have wrinkly fingers all the time. There is one major reason as to why we do not have wrinkly fingers all the time, and that is because it causes us to have a loss of sensitivity in our fingers. Our sense of touch is vital to everyday life, and so more important it would seem than a better grip!