The mystery of wrinkly fingers may be a step closer to an explanation.
“Everyone has experienced wrinkly ﬁngers after an extended exposure to water. These wrinkles have been proposed as an evolutionary mechanism for a better grip of wet objects. However, besides experimental observations or mathematical theories, there is still not a clear agreement whether this is a result of the contraction of the hypodermis ( the ‘shrink’ model), the eﬀect of epidermal swelling (the ‘swell’ model), or the coupling of both mechanisms.”
Research teams from the Laboratori de Calcul Numeric (LaCaN), Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain, and the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, US, have developed mathematical models which simulate fingertip wrinkling ‘in-silico’ (i.e. using a computer). The results suggesting that both the ‘shink’ model and the ‘swell’ model might be operating at the same time. Further work is still needed, however, to finally resolve the mystery.
“Without doubt, further experiments will help to close the debate about the origin of ﬁngertip wrinkling.”
See: Mechanics reveals the biological trigger in wrinkly fingers P Sáez, AM Zöllner – Annals of Biomedical Engineering, 2017
Also see: Fingers-only glove [new patent]