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Science Friday, May 24th 2013 at 10:45 am

TED-Ed Explains Why Your Fingers Get Pruney When They’re Wet in a Cartoon Full of Monkeys

Pruney fingers may have helped our primate ancestors grip things in the rain, the way tire treads provide traction on a slippery road.

As far as mysteries of the universe go, “Why do our fingers get pruney when they’re wet?” isn’t exactly the most pressing. It is, however, among the most persistent and just plain weird. After all, what kid hasn’t wondered this? It’s among our most common early scientific queries, though the answer remains unclear. Or it has — researchers now think that pruney fingers may have helped our primate ancestors grip items more effectively in soggy situations, and they seem to help us do the same, though gripping wet things is less evolutionarily advantageous than it once was. Evolutionary neurobiologist Mark Changizi explains the phenomenon in this cartoon featuring monkeys, which is how all scientific study should be expressed in the future.

(via TED-Ed)

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