Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wrinkly Fingers May Actually be Functional

Since I’ve been blogging about hands all this week, I wanted to pass on a fun piece of information I read this morning on NPR. The story dealt with the question of why our fingers get all wrinkly after they’ve been in water for a long time. I always thought this was because they were becoming dehydrated, since they look like prunes. Evidently others believed it was because they were actually absorbing water.

According to a theory published in Brain, Behavior, and Evolution and reported in Nature, Mark Changizi and his colleagues believe that wrinkly finger tips and toes evolved to act like treads on a tire that channel water away from the surfaces and allow us to better grip things while wet. They are now testing this hypothesis.

Not everyone accepted this idea; however, if it is indeed true that our bodies generate wrinkly finger and toes for functional reasons, then this is just another testament to the extreme intelligence of our bodies. Although, if a chameleon can change colors to blend into its surroundings, then pruny digits are maybe not so remarkable after all. But at least they’re nothing to be worried about after we climb out of the bathtub…

No comments:

Post a Comment