Why do wet fingers wrinkle?

Wrinkly fingers from sitting in the bath for too long could well have a useful purpose, according to research from Newcastle University.

Full Report: Why do wet fingers wrinkle?

A mystery which may have been baffling you for years has been solved by scientists at Newcastle University - why do fingers go wrinkly in the bath?

You probably didn't even know you needed to know why - but their findings are causing a stir around the world.

Our reporter Julia Barthram has been to test their theory.

You can watch the full report from her below.

Wet-wrinkled hands "have more grip"

Wrinkly fingers from sitting in the bath for too long could well have a useful purpose, according to research from Newcastle University.

Wrinkles that form on skin after being in water improves grip on wet objects, scientists claim to have shown.

The study compared the results of people taking objects out of water with and without the prune-like skin formation.

"We have shown that wrinkled fingers give a better grip in wet conditions.

It could be working like treads on your car tyres which allow more of the tyre to be in contact with the road and gives you a better grip.

Going back in time, this wrinkling of our fingers in wet conditions could have helped with gathering food from wet vegetation or streams.

And as we see the effect in our toes too, this may have been an advantage as it may have meant our ancestors were able to get a better footing in the rain."

– Dr Tom Smulders, author of the study

Advertisement