People who live in the modern world are lucky enough to have easy access to showers and baths. If you are like most people on the planet, you have noticed that your fingers and toes become pruney when you spend more than a few minutes in the water. People have made many guesses, but this phenomenon has puzzled researchers for years, and they could not agree on the reason.

After running a range of tests and conducting a few experiments, the scientific community believes that they have found the solution, and it might surprise you. As you read the following information, you will discover the past myth, the research and the current theory.

Debunking a Common Myth

A lot of people will suspect they know the answer to this question when they think about it for the first time, and it seems to make sense. The most common myth is that fingers and toes absorb water when people take a bath. Scientists took a closer look to discover the facts, and they now agree that this myth is untrue. While the information surprises most people, they are even more impressed when they take a closer look and see the big picture. Even if you are skeptical, the truth will be apparent if you take a little time to review the data, and we now know that water does not have the same effect on those with nerve damage.

The Research

Researchers in 2013 experimented to find the possible cause of pruney hands, and it was an eye-opening experience. The test involved asking subjects to handle wet and dry marbles to determine the strength of their grips. To establish a control group, the researchers had some of the subjects submerge their hands in water until they became wrinkled, but the other subjects kept their hands dry.

Next, they asked the subjects to pick up and handle the marbles, recording the results. Subjects with pruney hands could handle the wet marbles with ease, but the ones without noticeable wrinkling had a little trouble. Pruney hands, however, made no difference in a subject’s ability to grip dry marbles. If you have been on the hunt for answers, you are close to reaching your goal. Even though the researchers are not 100 percent sure of their answer, they believe they found a solution.

Current Theory

If you are ready to get to the bottom of the mystery of pruny hands, let’s explore the condition in which early humans lived. They did not have access to the tools and technology we now enjoy, so they had to be resourceful. Early humans had to fight for survival each day, and they often did so in wet environments.

Because pruney hands improve a person’s ability to grip wet objects, scientists believe the effects are related to evolution. The way fingers expand allow them to have even more contact with wet objects, making it a little easier for early humans to gather food and supplies without losing their grip. Under this theory, pruny toes allowed them to have better traction when walking on wet surfaces.

Final Thoughts

Most people have asked themselves about pruned hands and feet at some point, and it took a while for experts to agree on an answer. Individuals often believe wrinkles are the result of the skin soaking up water, but that is not the case. Most experts now believe that evolution gave us the ability to get pruney fingers so that we could maintain our grip and not lose our balance in wet conditions. You will smile the next time you step into your shower, knowing you have solved another one of life’s secrets.

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