Navigation Links
How people work ... and the fingerprint mystery
Date:1/6/2010

Why do we chew our food? Research has shown that it is not, as has long been presumed, to make chunks of food small enough to swallow without choking. Biomechanics, who have modelled the cohesive strength of food after a certain amount of chewing, have shown that we actually chew our food to ensure it is in a firm blob and, therefore, safe to swallow.

Writing in January's Physics World, Dr Roland Ennos, a biomechanic in the Faculty of Life Sciences at University of Manchester, explains how we need to look beyond obvious answers if we are to understand how our own bodies work.

Explaining why we swing our arms, why we have notched teeth, why our fingernails always break in the same direction, and, still puzzling, why we have fingerprints, Dr Ennos shows how rich the boundary between biology and physics is in, some counter-intuitive but, potentially significant discoveries.

On the fingerprint puzzle, we know that fingerprints are useful to identify people for security and crime detection, but no scientist has ever suggested that fingerprints evolved specifically for this purpose. It has been thought that fingerprints help us to grip more tightly to objects, but tests show that a rough surface does not actually increase the friction of soft materials such as skin.

Fingerprint friction is therefore a mystery that has left Dr Ennos's team testing a number of options - it could be that fingerprints act like the treads on tyres, removing water and so increasing friction under wet conditions. Another possibility is that prints also make the skin more flexible and stop it blistering.

As Dr Ennos writes, "The answers to these questions may appear obvious or even trivial, but further thought and experiment is revealing that our world is far more fascinating than we could have dreamed."

What's more, this sort of research, unlike many areas of physics, is not expensive or mathematically hard. "All you need is an enquiring mind, a bit of ingenuity and the courage to ask awkward questions," concludes Dr Ennos.


'/>"/>

Contact: Joe Winters
joseph.winters@iop.org
44-207-470-4815
Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Toxicants detected in Asian monkey hair may warn of environmental threats to people and wildlife
2. Moderate weight loss in obese people improves heart function
3. Why cant some people give up cocaine?
4. Indiana U. at APHA: Studies about health education for people with ID, stability balls at work
5. Experimental treatments restore partial vision to blind people
6. Cell study explains why younger people more at risk of vCJD
7. Fish fend off invading germs with an initial response similar to the one found in people
8. Beta-blockers and stroke -- new insights into their use for older people
9. NIH-funded researchers sequence exomes of 12 people
10. $2 million grant aids study of lung cancer in people who never smoked
11. Study shows CGM devices also benefit people with type 1 diabetes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/15/2016)... and BADEN-BADEN, Germany , December 15, ... global financial services provider, today announced an agreement with NuData ... biometrics, to join forces. The partnership will enable clients to ... in compliance with local data protection regulation. ... In order to provide ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... ... has announced the addition of the "Global Military Biometrics Market 2016-2020" ... global military biometrics market to grow at a CAGR of 7.5% during ... on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report ... The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... 2016  There is much more to innovative access ... engine. Continental will demonstrate the intelligence of today,s solutions ... . Through the combination of the keyless entry and ... elements, the international technology company is opening up new ... "The integration of biometric elements brings our ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/17/2017)... 17, 2017  On January 10 at the Medtech ... Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco ... , spoke to pharmaceutical leaders and public and private ... break down and destroy biofilms.  Biofilms ... antibiotics and the body,s immune system from eradicating chronic ...
(Date:1/14/2017)... Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... January 14, 2017 ... ... of Proximo™, a new service providing complete end-to-end genome assemblies to researchers around ... complete genomes eliminates a major obstacle in answering a wide range of scientific ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... ... January 13, 2017 , ... ... demand that it has found among its diverse customer base. The latest entry ... in most brands electroporators including BTX and Bio-Rad. FireflySci is introducing three distinct ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... ... January 12, 2017 , ... Huffman Engineering, Inc. , ... who will work in the company’s Lincoln office as a chemical engineer. In ... control systems for customers in the life science manufacturing and water/wastewater industries. , Prior ...
Breaking Biology Technology: