After A 20 Minute Bath, He Noticed One Hand Did Not Wrinkle

October 5, 2014

This is fascinating evidence supporting the fact that pruning is a nerve response we evolved, not just how skin reacts to water.

After a motorcycle accident, he was left with paralysis in his left arm. These are his hands after 20 minutes in the bath:

only one hand wrinkles

This pruning effect does not occur in places where there is nerve damage. This points to the change being an involuntary reaction by the body's autonomic nervous system meaning the wrinkling is caused by blood vessels constricting below the skin.

So why does the skin on human fingers and toes shrivel up when soaked in water?

Laboratory tests in 2011 confirmed a theory that wrinkly fingers improve our grip on wet or submerged objects, working to channel away the water like the rain treads in car tires.

Researchers believe that wrinkled fingers could have helped our ancestors to gather food from wet vegetation or streams while the analogous effect in our toes could help us to get a better footing in the rain.

Sources: Reddit, Nature

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