I am super excited that for Christmas I received a subscription to National Geographic (thanks, Mom!). I recently received the Jan & Feb issues at the same time. I am absolutely floored by this article (posted below). Is this possible? Has anything in the world of research suggested anything like this?
Linger in the bathtub long enough, and fingers and toes will prune. Those wrinkles may seem insignificant, but they could be rooted in evolution.
Puckered digits were once thought to be just the bloated result of water absorption. Then Newcastle University evolutionary biologist Tom Smulders heard about another theory - that the lines promote water runoff and aid adhesion, like treads on a tire. (Picture shows a man holding a marble - caption: Fingertips grip wet objects, like this marble, better when they're "pruney.") Smulders confirmed that pruney fingers have the advantage in wet conditions.
He's only just scratched the surface of how the wrinkles work. For now, though, his findings could boost the theory that a million years ago the ancestors of modern humans went through a semiaquatic state, when skin folds might have helped toes cling to slick rocks and fingers catch wriggling fish. ~Catherine Zuckerman
Peace. Love. Serene.