Skip

Big pink raisin discovered in tub, boy's whereabouts unknown
September 19, 2011 9:27 AM   Subscribe

Are wet-induced wrinkled fingers primate rain treads? (Nature's summary) In the words of a famous bathtub philosopher, pretty neat, huh? Warning: may trigger rhytiphobia.
posted by elgilito (19 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think the hand being wet negates any potential increase in gripping ability. Fun experiment: climb anything with wet hands and then with dry hands. Which one is easier?
posted by Renoroc at 9:43 AM on September 19, 2011


And old-age wrinkles evolved to channel tears.
posted by rory at 9:44 AM on September 19, 2011 [14 favorites]


Some things are easier to grip with wet hands versus dry hands, Renoroc. Seems to depend on the material.
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:44 AM on September 19, 2011


Gripping with (marginally) wet hands is way easier than with (extremely) dry hands. I have this problem in the fall while, say, raking. Before I heat up and start to sweat a little, I can barely hold on to the rake.
posted by DU at 9:45 AM on September 19, 2011


I play a lot of golf. I live in the UK. I play a lot of golf in the rain. There is definitely a window of maximum slippage between hands first getting wet and fingers getting wrinkled. I find it easier to hang on to the club once I've been wet for a while and my fingers have gone wrinkly.

Life is like a warm bath - the longer you stay in it, the wrinklier you get.
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 9:46 AM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Life is like a warm bath - the longer you stay in it, the wrinklier you get.

I wish life in the UK was like a warm bath! I find it much closer to a constant slightly cold shower.
posted by srboisvert at 10:25 AM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Renoroc: I think the hand being wet negates any potential increase in gripping ability. Fun experiment: climb anything with wet hands and then with dry hands. Which one is easier?

I pondered the same here after a whole bunch of people, myself included, suddenly got their palms all sweaty while watching this video of people doing pull-ups on top of a crane with no safety equipment (you might want to avoid watching if you're badly afraid of heights). Miko responded with the same point as Doleful Creature above about how it depends on the material.

Too bad our sweat glands haven't read the memo on painted steel bars.
posted by Anything at 10:27 AM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the hand being wet negates any potential increase in gripping ability.

That's the point. Suppose your hands are already wet from the rain. Wrinkling compensates, in principle...

In the future, we hope to carry out (i) behavioral studies to see whether wrinkled fingers are superior to nonwrinkled fingers in wet conditions,


So far they've only shown that wrinkly fingers look like tire treads, not that they actually do the job.

old-age wrinkles evolved to channel tears.


Skepticism is warranted until they have proof of functionality in hand. They've made a testable prediction, let's see how it goes.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:44 AM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Huh, I had no idea that wrinkling was controlled by the CNS and was an active process, I still thought it was osmosis. Cool post!
posted by benzenedream at 10:48 AM on September 19, 2011


Warning: the words in this sentence may trigger triskadecaphobia in some susceptible readers.
posted by cmoj at 11:00 AM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Scientists have known since the mid-1930s that water wrinkles do not form if the nerves in a finger are severed, implying that they are controlled by the nervous system.


Well I'll be damned! TIL...
posted by five fresh fish at 1:18 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fig. 4. Wet-wrinkle networks on 28 fingers from 13 hands. These were found in the public online domain and were kept so long as the image was sufficiently sharp to see the wrinkles.

The theory is interesting, but this note reads like the authors and the journal that published this don't understand copyright and assume that anything online is free for the taking.
posted by snofoam at 1:19 PM on September 19, 2011


Or they did a public domain search on flickr.
posted by Mitheral at 1:28 PM on September 19, 2011


Most journals have a good grasp of copyright, since their livelihood depends upon authors transferring it to the journal.
posted by benzenedream at 1:54 PM on September 19, 2011


Wow, Anything, my palms started getting damp just watching that vid.

I got to give it to the guy; for being only able to do three pull ups in a row, doing those three on top of a crane without safety takes huge I'll-pull-you-to-your-death cajones.
posted by porpoise at 2:15 PM on September 19, 2011


I guess my comment was based on the fact that they cited the "public online domain" which is some made-up thing that doesn't exist and seems to conflate being online with being public domain. Also, plenty of magazines and journals regularly use images illegally. But I am off topic here, so sorry.
posted by snofoam at 2:42 PM on September 19, 2011


I think the hand being wet negates any potential increase in gripping ability.

I won't bore you with the stories of all those times I've been sat out in the rain, thrusting a long stick down into a nest of termites, so that I can pull it out and nibble the termites off the stick like a crazy cob of corn, but those wrinkly fingers come in mighty handy.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:48 PM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


¡OMG! The feet washing up in Vanvouver—were the toes wrinkled?! If the toes were smooth—something nefarious may be afoot!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:20 PM on September 19, 2011


Skepticism is warranted until they have proof of functionality in hand. They've made a testable prediction, let's see how it goes.

Actually, I hadn't meant to come across as skeptical about the rain-treads hypothesis, which I thought was great.
posted by rory at 2:49 PM on September 20, 2011


« Older It's not procrastination if you're learning things   |   Et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post