Why Do We Wrinkle When Wet?

Why Do We Wrinkle When Wet?

Why do your fingers and toes get wrinkly when they’ve been in the water too long? Short answer: Your nerves. Longer answer: Evolution.

Hosted by: Michael Aranda
Dooblydoo thanks go to the following Patreon supporters — we couldn’t make SciShow without them! Shout out to Christopher Prevoe, Justin Ove, John Szymakowski, Peso255, Ruben Galvao, Fatima Iqbal, Justin Lentz, and David Campos.
Like SciShow? Want to help support us, and also get things to put on your walls, cover your torso and hold your liquids? Check out our awesome products over at DFTBA Records: http://dftba.com/scishow

Or help support us by becoming our patron on Patreon:
Looking for SciShow elsewhere on the internet?
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/scishow
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/scishow
Tumblr: http://scishow.tumblr.com
Instagram: http://instagram.com/thescishow


You may also like...

20 Responses

  1. Caitlin Willix-Payne says:

    What causes warts?

  2. Aimee Gray says:

    There is a viral video of a coke can submerged by lava! Why doesn’t the can

  3. RvdKlein says:

    What I am wondering is: if this is an involuntary reaction by the nervous
    system to water… could you trigger the response in the absence of water
    by some means? Stimulation of certain parts of the brain? Just thinking
    about having your hand in water for a long while? Or, like the fake hand
    experiment… where you tickle a fake hand with a feather and the subject
    feels it… Can you submerge the fake hand in water and have the real hand
    shrivel up?

  4. llfacelessll says:

    (visit my channel and if you like the content subscribe) I think it has
    something to do with water and wrickles, okay..I have no idea..always
    wondered.., oh..so it’s a mechanism that helps for grip..we are machines…

  5. KaosKrusher says:

    isn’t there a difference between hot and cold water?
    (as far as I remember it only happened to me in hot water (ie bath) and not
    in colder water (ie sea))
    and also can’t you get some sort of tolerance to it (wrinkling lest fast)?

  6. wevenhuis says:

    it’ contradictory. Fingers and toes are sensitive!

  7. White Oleander says:

    He’s gay.

  8. Steven Acevedo says:

    Why do our palms get sweaty when nervous?
    Seems like a disadvantage when someone is holding a weapon and it can slip

  9. Paul Wills says:

    Is this a repost? I swear I’ve seen this before…

  10. Paul Wills says:

    After watching it, I realized that I haven’t seen it… But I recently
    heard this factoid somewhere else I think.

  11. Paul Wills says:

    +OnyxDeity I’m not a big redditor. It was probably on my G+ feed somewhere.

  12. Dimonay says:

    This just makes me wonder why we don’t have any personal control over the

  13. Matthew Haas says:

    Why don’t we unwrinkle when we are old and dry out?

  14. Richard Fergusson says:

    You answered why but not how?!?!

  15. Jake Dowman-French says:

    I would assume that the reason, evolutionarily, fingers don’t wrinkle all
    the time, is that sensitivity is decreased while the fingers are wrinkled,
    so although our evolutionary would have better grip, they would find it
    harder to coordinate their actions during tasks requiring a steady hand.
    Also, if you think about it, our fingers are already wrinkled in a way, our
    fingerprints are an adaptation to improve the grip of our digits I believe.

  16. attack says:

    My Grandma is wrinkled, is she a good grip?

  17. mobeus timestreamer says:

    There is not always a utalitarian explanation in evolution. Maybe we dont
    wrinkle all the time simply because there was never such a random mutation
    to be passed down

  18. Tesserex says:

    I believe that the nervous system reaction still has to be triggered by
    osmosis though. Even though osmosis doesn’t cause the wrinkling, it allows
    for the detection of moisture that sets off the response. I actually
    inadvertently tested this once, before I knew about the true cause, when I
    was in Israel with a peer group.

    We were at some spa where they have natural baths full of salts and other
    stuff (the water was a sickly opaque greenish-yellow) and we all noticed
    that even after 15 minutes no one’s fingers had wrinkled. I surmised that
    it was because the crazy high solute concentration was preventing osmosis.
    So it seems like since the water was too salty, the body couldn’t detect
    the moisture and trigger the wrinkling response. I suppose I should repeat
    that experiment sometime.

  19. Pedro Bear says:

    My fingers always get like that when i finger my girls.

  20. blackadderthe4 says:

    Hahaha, that didnt look like a finger at first glance!