Why do we get prune fingers?
Why do we get prune fingers? (Thinkstock)
Why do we get prune fingers?
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You asked us, 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 constricting.
 
It's an involuntary reaction to wet conditions by our autonomic nervous system. This is 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 bodies, actually just our fingers and toes, evolve to react this way when wet?
 
You see, 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 get a better grip and sturdier footing in wet conditions. Thanks, science! Now I can kick butt at my next water balloon fight.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/why-do-we-get-prune-fingers/

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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 (228)
  • heidis-kut
    5/20/2016 - 10:21 a.m.

    We don't consciously think about breathing and heart rate because it is natural to us. It is something in our brain that we don't think about. The only time we really think about it is when we are having breathing troubles or heart troubles. It just comes naturally to us.

  • sydneym-3-bar
    5/20/2016 - 10:31 a.m.

    We do not consciously think about breathing and heart rate because those are things that need to happen in our body to keep us alive. If we could not breathe or keep our heart rate going, then we would die. So our body knows to do those actions without even thinking. This post was interesting because I thought that our fingers got pruney because of moisture.

  • rorys-1-bar
    5/20/2016 - 10:44 a.m.

    we consciously think about breathing and heart rate because both of those things happen all the time and can determine whether we live or survive. In the article is states that humans can no control the reason why our fingers prune but we can control things "like our breathing, heart rate and perspiration." I know that every single second our heart beats and we breath but our fingers do not prune every single second. Also I know that if we want to run faster or do something faster all we have to do is increase our heart rate and breathing which will make our blood go to the organs that need it most.

    Opinion: I thought this article was cool how it says why we can not control the reason why our fingers prune.

  • sadier-ter
    5/20/2016 - 10:53 a.m.

    It's cool that we don't even have to think about it, our bodies just help us survive.

  • coltonh-ter
    5/20/2016 - 10:55 a.m.

    It would be very weird if are whole body got wrinkly like are fingers and toes, I wonder how it would feel?

  • abyr-ter
    5/20/2016 - 10:56 a.m.

    I believe that we don't consciously think our breathing and about our heart rate because we have just done it ever since we have been born. Also we don't think about our health unless we are sick.

  • joannah-ter
    5/20/2016 - 10:57 a.m.

    It is wierd that people wrinkle like bike tires in the water. I never would have thought it would help us.

  • ethanm-4-bar
    5/20/2016 - 10:58 a.m.

    We don't think about heart rate because it automatically happens, just like when your fingers get wrinkly it is an automatic reaction, you don't have to think about it.
    I was very surprised that there is a reason why our fingers prune. I also thought it was cool that our ancestors may have used this to their advantage.

  • kenadeet-ter
    5/20/2016 - 11:00 a.m.

    I didn't know that a part of our body could react in a way with water. I thought that since we are in water for to long then our feet would just wrinkle up because our skin was already dry so our skin was reacting to it.

  • brianac-ter
    5/20/2016 - 11:03 a.m.

    It's amazing what people can find out if they just try!

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