Why Do We Have Lines On Our Palms?

Stop whatever you’re doing right now and stick the palms of both your hands in front of your face. What do you see? A bunch of lines crisscrossing all across your palms, right?

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Have you ever wondered why they’re there, since they don’t seem to serve any purpose (or so it seems)?

Why do we have so many lines on our palms?

Short answer: The lines on our palms are known as palmar flexion creases, and they’re there to help us fold, stretch, squeeze, scrunch and do other such things without excessively stretching or squeezing the skin on the hands.

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Palmar flexion creases

The lines on our palms are scientifically known as palmar flexion creases. These creases begin to form around the 12th week of gestation, i.e., when the baby is still in the womb. What this means is that we are all born with these lines on our palms.

Kid hand palm

We are all born with these palm lines. (Photo Credit : Pexels)

Their primary function is to help squeeze and stretch the skin of the palm. It’s only along these lines that the hand’s skin folds or bunches up in accordance with the relevant position of the hand (e.g., curling, stretching, making a fist etc.). Apart from offering this physical advantage, palmar flexion creases can also help identify certain medical disorders in an individual.

The reason we have lines on our palms

Hands are indisputably one of the the hardest working organs (amongst the external ones) of the body. Think of the plethora of physical activities you do with them day in and day out. You constantly pick things up, pull/push, squeeze, turn and twist stuff using your hands. It’s actually quite pointless to list all the activities we do using your hands because there are just so many!

The creases on the palm help the skin to fold and stretch. (Photo Credit: Pixabay)

In order for your hands to do all these physical activities, the skin that covers them must be able to adjust suitably to complex positions. Therefore, when you stretch, fold, bend or make a fist using your palms, the skin must be able to follow suit.

If not for the lines on our palms, bags of loose skin would be hanging out from under our palms and fingers. Not only would that be a terrible waste of skin tissue, but also a rather unpleasant sight to behold.

Can reading palm lines (palmistry) foretell the future?

A sizable portion of the general public actually believes that the lines on our palms can help foretell our future. Fortune tellers all over the world make a living out of reading people’s palms and predicting their future!

Old man black & white hand palm lines

Can the lines on our palms foretell the future? (Photo Credit : Wikipedia)

However, as of now, palmistry is considered a superstitious or pseudoscientific belief due to a serious lack of empirical support behind palmistry predictions, as well as different (and sometimes even contradicting) interpretations of the same set of lines on an individual’s palms across different cultures.

In other words, if you’re someone who believes in an idea or a theory only if there’s sufficient scientific research and proof backing it, then going to a fortune teller to help predict the outcome of an exam, a business deal, or any other (future) event of your life is certainly not an option for you, at least until the “powers that be” accept palmistry as a ‘regular’ science.

References:

  1. Palmistry – Wikipedia
  2. Single Transverse Palmar Crease – Wikipedia
  3. Live science
The short URL of the present article is: http://sciabc.us/LmQO0
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