The Wrinkly Fingers Theory: Study Explains Why Fingers Get Creases in Water

Having wrinkly fingers is actually an evolutionary development, researchers say

  Wrinkly fingers are meant to help people grab and hold on to wet objects
It is a well-known fact that spending too much time swimming, doing dishes or in the bathtub ultimately leads to one's fingers getting all wrinkly.

It is a well-known fact that spending too much time swimming, doing dishes or in the bathtub ultimately leads to one's fingers getting all wrinkly.

Most people take this phenomenon for granted, and do not bother asking why it is that water affects our fingers in this manner.

Still, a team of scientists working with the Newcastle University now claims that they have solved this puzzle and that they have a perfectly valid explanation for people's wrinkly fingers.

Interestingly enough, they say that it all has to do with adapting to our surrounding environment and that we are basically dealing with an evolutionary development.

To cut a long story short, they believe that people evolved to have wrinkled-when-wet fingers for the sole purpose of being able to grab and hold on to objects that for one reason or another are located underwater.

More precisely, it is their belief that wrinkly fingers really came in handy whenever our ancestors had to go looking for food in aquatic environment.

After asking people with wrinkly fingers and people with “ordinary” ones to pick up various wet objects, the researchers found that the first did a much better job at this task than the latter, meaning that they were – on average – 12% faster.

According to The Conservation, the study published by said specialists in the journal Biology Letters reads as follows:

“These findings support the hypothesis that water-induced finger wrinkles improve handling submerged objects and suggest that they may be an adaptation for handling objects in wet conditions.”

Commenting on these findings, Dr. Maciej Henneberg, professor of anthropological and comparative anatomy at the University of Adelaide, made a case of how, “It is fairly likely that if our ancestors spent a lot of time wading through water and extracting resources form shallow water, they have adapted to that. It’s quite a reasonable theory.”

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