Why do we get prune fingers? (Thinkstock)
Why do we get prune fingers?
Lexile

You asked us a question. Why do we get prune fingers?
 
People used to think that the wrinkles happened when the outer layer of our skin on our fingers and toes swelled up with water. But now we know that pruning is caused by blood vessels below the skin. The blood vessels are constricting.
 
It's an involuntary reaction to wet conditions. The reaction comes from our autonomic nervous system. That's the same system that controls things like our breathing, heart rate and perspiration. Those are things we don't have to consciously think about to do.
 
But why did our fingers and toes evolve to react this way when wet?
 
A few people started taking a closer look. They thought, "Hey, you know those wrinkles on our fingers and toes? They kind of look like tire treads, don't they?" So they began to test a hypothesis.
 
Maybe we wrinkle so, like tire treads, our fingers and toes can get better traction in wet conditions. Sure enough, our pruny digits do a better job of handling wet objects than dry fingers.
 
It's possible this nifty trick helped our ancestors. They could get a better grip and sturdier footing in wet conditions. Thanks, science! Now I can kick butt at my next water balloon fight.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why don't we consciously think about breathing and heart rate?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (28)
  • lizbethg-san
    5/20/2016 - 11:55 a.m.

    We don't consciously think about breathing and heart rate because it is caused by blood vessels below the skin. And because the reaction comes from our automatic nervous system. And because that is the system that controls our breathing, heart rate and perspiration. That is why we don't consciously think about breathing and our heart rate

  • litzym-san
    5/20/2016 - 11:56 a.m.

    I think we don't think about it because we might get too worry. For example they might think that they might have a heart attack. And for breathing they might get distracted and forget how to breathe when they think about it and worry. And it might happen when we get nervous that same system that controls things like our breathing and heart rate.

  • juanj-san
    5/20/2016 - 11:56 a.m.

    Cause when we are under water we have to go up and breathe and let your heart rest and you could get very distracted .But now we know that pruning is caused by blood vessels below the skin,and the blood vessels are constricting.

  • destinyg-san
    5/20/2016 - 11:57 a.m.

    I think that that we don't think about that it is because we might be thinking about that to much and pay more attention to what's happening then other stuff. Also about the heart rate we are also going to be thinking about it to much. And also people might react to breathing bad and so they might get scared. That's what I think.

  • alexandrag-san
    5/20/2016 - 11:57 a.m.

    We don't consciously think about breathing and heart rate because our body just some how does it by ourselves that is why we don't worry about it that much.Also you can get distracted of how you are breathing and how is your heart rate.Another reason is our autonomic nervous system controls our breathing and heart rate.So if a person has a heart condition our autonomic nervous system doesn't work that smoothly but still functions properly and if a person has asthma it doesn't also work smoothly but still alright.

  • cristiang-49900-san
    5/20/2016 - 11:57 a.m.

    First we don't have to think about breathing we just relax.
    Second is because some have a system that some people don't have and they don't think about breathing.
    Third there are area Methods that help you focus and you don't breath.

  • katyc-san
    5/20/2016 - 11:59 a.m.

    we don't think about it because sometimes we can get destcded that we don't think about breathing a lot what if you are having fun or we are reading or shopping we don't know if you are breathing it is hard to stay focused on something so that is how people don't stay forced on breathing. The end

  • natashat-san
    5/20/2016 - 12:03 p.m.

    Because we don't consciously think about breathing and heart rates because we

  • josuev-san
    5/20/2016 - 12:04 p.m.

    We don't consciously cause we evolved so we don't have. To think about it

  • yisennias-ver
    5/20/2016 - 02:18 p.m.

    This answers one of my wonders. Check that off the list.

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