Saturday, September 24, 2011

Are Wet-Induced Wrinkled Fingers Primate Rain Treads?

I thought I'd like to share this wonderful article from the journal of Brain,Behavior and Evolution. I particularly adore the analogy to racing tires; the accompanying illustrative figures and diagrams are gorgeous!

Abstract: Wet fingers and toes eventually wrinkle, and this is commonly attributed by lay opinion to local osmotic reactions. However, nearly a century ago surgeons observed that no wrinkling occurs if a nerve to the finger has been cut. Here we provide evidence that, rather than being an accidental side effect of wetness, wet-induced wrinkles have been selected to enhance grip in wet conditions. We show that their morphology has the signature properties of drainage networks, enabling efficient removal of water from the gripped surface.

Space Junk, Orbital Debris

A huge satellite, the 6.5 ton UARS, fell to earth yesterday. NASA has not given the final word if it all fell into the Pacific Ocean, or if some of the debris fell onto Pacific islands or into western Canada.

Here are some links to stories: