If you believe that the wrinkles that form on your fingers under water is a consequence no useless to spend much time on it, is wrong. A group of researchers at the University of Newcastle in the UK explains that it is a response sympathetic nervous system constricts blood vessels when the fingers contact the liquid. But not only that. The study also reveals that the furrows that form have a specific function and a natural advantage: they allow better grasp objects that are wet or underwater.
Volunteers who participated in the study had to take a hand glass stones that were tucked into a bowl of water and then had to pass through a small hole to put them in another container. Participants with wrinkled fingers completed the task more quickly than those that were smooth and dry. It was also noted that there was no advantage in moving objects with wrinkled fingers dry.
“If the nervous system is actively controlling this behavior in some circumstances and not others, it is obvious that there is a specific function that you selected evolutionary system,” explains Tom Smulders , responsible for research. The study also notes that these lines may have benefited our ancestors, it helped them gather food or wet vegetation in streams. “And watching our soles, we conclude that the crumpling allowed us to run better in the rain,” says Smulders.
The study also removed the old belief that this effect in the fingers is the result of the passage of water to the outer layer of the skin, causing it to swell and wrinkle. The researchers show that it is an active process in which blood vessels constrict as a natural response of the nervous system.
One of the questions that are yet unanswered is why we have wrinkly fingers all the time, even when not in the water. “Our first theories suggest that this could decrease the sensitivity in the tips of our fingers or even increase the risk of injury to pick up objects,” says Smulder.