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Dermatoglyphic characters and physique A correlation study.

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AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 57:99-lOl(1982)
Dermatoglyphic Characters and Physique:
A Correlation Study
FRANCISCO ROTHHAMMER, ELENA LLOE: AND JAMES V. NEEL
Departamento de Biologia Celular y Genetica, Universidad de Chile, Santiago,
Chile (F.R.,E.L.),and Department of Human Genetics, University of Michigan
Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 (J.KN.)
KEY WORDS
Dermatoglyphics, Hand measurement,
Early developmental interaction
ABSTRACT
The association of anthropometrics, particularly hand measurements, with dermatoglyphic characters is quantified. Children with square hands
exhibit higher main line indices, a-b ridge counts, and more open atd angles.
Adults with broader hands have more arches. Taller individuals with larger hands
present higher a-b ridge counts and leaner subjects with long narrow hands, closer
atd angles. The correlation of physique and dermatoglyphics is small but if
verified, suggests that at early fetal stages, factors responsible for the establishment of dermatoglyphic patterns interact with genetic determinants of adult
shape that are already active.
The question of whether the observed phenotypic variability in dermatoglyphic traits reflects an underlying genetic variability has
been the object of many presentations [see, for
example, Wichmann (1963)and Holt (1968)for
references]. Previous limited studies by Tillner
(1942), Wendt (1954), and Wichmann (1963)
have revealed small and inconsistent correlations between various aspects of size and
shape and total ridge count andlor pattern intensity. Stimulated largely by our observation
of an apparently loose association between
various indicators of mean bodily size and the
index of pattern intensity (and in ignorance of
the studies just quoted), we undertook the
present study, which represents an effort to
quantify the association, if any, between dermatoglyphic characters and some pertinent
body measurements.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS
A sample of 105 unrelated adults, 25 males
and 80 females and 108 children, 60 males and
48 females, descendants of the former, were obtained in the northern area of the socioeconomically middle-classpopulation of Santiago.Correa
et al. (1976)sampled the same population for
their blood group study. The proportion of
Spanish genes in this population has been estimated to be 59% (Valenzuelaet al., 1978). The
ages of the adults lie between 26 and 46 years
0002-948318215701-0099$01.50 0 1982 ALAN R. LISS, INC.
and those of the children between 5 and 9
years. The following observations were obtained for each individual: breadth and length
of the middle finger, breadth and length of the
hand, stature, weight, and finger and palmar
dermatoglyphic prints using the Faurot technique. Measurements were obtained in the
manner described in the International Biological Programme Handbook (Weinerand Laurie,
1969: 8-16). The middle finger was selected for
detailed measurements because of its relevance for measuring hand length. Palm length
was obtained as the difference between hand
length and finger length. The following shape
measurements were included in the analysis:
hand index (hand breadthihand length), palm
index (hand breadthipalm length), and ponderal index (statureivweight). Among the
dermatoglyphic traits considered were pattern
intensity index, a-b ridge count, atd angle,
main line index, and c line absence.
Age dependent anthropometric and dermatoglyphic variables (atd angle among the latter) of the children were adjusted to the mean
age by quadratic polynomial regression. Adult
measurements were not adjusted for age. Systematic sex differences in anthropometric and
dermatoglyphic variables were removed by
linear regression. Right and left hand measureReceived April 3, 1981: accepted August 25. 1981
F. ROTHHAMMER, E. LLOP, AND J.V. NEEL
100
ments were averaged. Finally, the associations
of the adjusted anthropometric and dermatoglyphic variables were quantified by computing Pearson’s product-moment correlation
coefficients. A function of r, namely
ment. Pattern intensity index is, for example,
associated negatively with hand width, main
line index is correlated negatively with finger
length, a-b ridge count is positively correlated
with hand size measurements and stature, and,
finally, atd angle is associated with hand measurements and ponderal index.
where n is the sample size, and which is distributed as t (Mood and Graybill, 1963),was evaluated and referred to the cumulative “Student’s”
distribution to test the null hypothesis Q = 0.
In mixed population samples, as the present
one, two traits may appear correlated as a r e
sult of “racial stratification.” None of the dermatoglyphic traits studied exhibit a clear-cut
gradient of distribution among populations
with different percentages of Amerindian admixture. Stratification seems therefore unlikely as an explanation of the “significant”
correlations observed. However, in 9 x 5
matrices such as Table 1 and 2, with a total of
90 correlations, one should expect approximately 5 of the correlations to be “significant”
on the basis of chance alone. In fact, there are
15 “significant” correlations, but the largest is
only 0.31. Since Tables 1 and 2 represent the
same measurements at different stages in the
life cycle, it would be reasonable and conservative to expect r e d y significant correlations to
be duplicated in the two tables, although there
DISCUSSION
RESULTS
The presentation of descriptive statistics
such as means or variances is irrelevant for the
purposes of this study and therefore omitted.
Correlations are summarized by sex in Tables
1and 2. Inspection of the children’scorrelation
matrix (Table 1)reveals that main line index,
a-b ridge count, and atd angle are significantly
associated with the hand index and the latter
two measurements, also with the palmar index. The adult correlation matrix (Table 2)
seems to exhibit a somewhat different structure, probably as a result of the size and shape
changes that occur during growth and develop-
T A B L E 1. Children correlation matrix for various anthropometnc and dermatoglyphic characteristics
Characteristic
Finger width
Finger length
Hand width
Hand length
Stature
Weight
Palmar index
Hand index
Ponderal index
Pattern intensity
index
Main line
index
~
.06
.oo
.07
.12
-.18*
.09
.13
.12
.04
.04
.oo
.03
-.15
-.13
-.09
.ll
.19*
-.07
a-b ridge
count .16
.13
.16
.01
.08
.09
.26**
.18*
-.02
c-line
absence
atd angle
.10
.06
-.02
-.04
.03
.17*
-.01
-.08
-.01
.07
.13
.13
.10
.12
.24*
.19*
-.04
-.11
* p < 0.05.
** p < 0.01.
T A B L E 2. Adult correlation matrix for various anthrouometric and dermatoplvuhic characteristics
~
Characteris tic
Finger width
Finger length
Hand width
Hand length
Stature
Weight
Palmar index
Hand index
Ponderal index
* p < 0.05.
** p < 0.01.
Pattern intensity
index
-.06
.06
--.19*
.06
-.04
.06
-
-.15
-.13
-.08
Main line
index
- .06
-.18*
.03
- .08
.04
.ll
-.01
.13
- .08
a-b ridge
count
.05
.31**
.28**
.25**
.21*
.15
.15
.07
-.02
~~
atd angle
~~
c-line
absence
-.07
-.15
-.02
-.20*
- .04
-.14
-.16
-.07
.11
.13
.14
.17*
-.22*
-.07
-.16
.06
.10
-.15
DERMATOGLYPHIC CHARACTERS AND PHYSIQUE
is of course no absolute a priori reason that this
be the case. This is true for only two of the entries, involving negative correlations between
main line index and finger length and positive
correlations between hand index and atd angle.
We take these to be valid findings. In addition,
there is a cluster of positive significant correlations in the adult between a-b ridge count and
measures of finger and hand size which, while
not significant in the children, tend d s o to be
positive. Finally, we believe that the correlation between palmar index and a-b ridge count
is probably meaningful. In descriptive terms,
big square hands are characterized by transversally aligned palm ridges, more open atd
angles, and higher a-b ridge counts. Notable, if
verified, is the correlation between hand width
and pattern intensity in adults, since it suggests that the number of triradii on the fingertips may be related to hand morphology. The
only point of cross-contact with previous work
with which we feel comfortable is Wichmann’s
(1963) report of very small (very nonsignificant)positive correlations of stature with ridge
count, with which our findings do not disagree.
The existence of these small correlations
raises interesting considerations with respect
to genetic factors in human development. Both
anthropometric and dermatoglyphic measurements exhibit estimates of genetic determination of the order of 0.5 or higher [see for example Penrose (1954),Pons (1959),Osborn and de
George (1959), Holt (1968). Loesch (1971),
Ramesh and Murty (1977)],and both are often
presented as classic examples of quantitative
traits under the control of many loci. It is difficult to visualize the genes responsible for dermatoglyphic traits later influencing growth
potential. Conversely, given the early fetal
stage at which dermatoglyphic patterns are established, adult size can scarcely feed back
into dermatoglyphic traits, with the exception
of atd angle. But can there be a basis for an interaction between the two sets of measurements? Penrose (1965)postulated that the fact
that the dermatoglyphic ridges run predominantly at right angles to the long axes of the
limbs suggests that they take the shortest
course possible during development, and that
the symmetry of most triradii has the same implication. This led him to suggest that the permanent dermatoglyphic configuration is the
result of laying a carpet of parellel lines, in
some ways as economically as possible, over
the contours presented by the fetal hand. In accordance with present findings we suggest
that at the time that dermatoglyphic carpet is
laid down, the responsible factors are interacting with other (genetic) factors ultimately
related to body and hand shape. An indication
101
that these ‘other’factors find early expression
is provided by the observation of Garn et al.
(1975) that adult metacarpal-phalangeal proportions are attained as early as week 13,
whereas the epidermal ridges do not complete
their differentiation until week 16 (Cummins
and Midlo, 1943).Further evidence for the kind
of ‘prenatal communalities’ discussed here is
provided by Babler’s (1980) observation that
the thickness of the dermis is correlated with
inter-ridge distance.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The cooperation of the Center for Growth
and Development of the Chilean National
Health Service and the support of Project B
518 8135 of the Servicio de Desarrolo Cientifico, Artistic0 y de Cooperacion Internacional and Project PNUDKJNESCO RLA
781024 are gratefully acknowledged.
LITERATURE CITED
Babler, WJ (1980) Dermatoglyphics: Prenatal communalities in developing human hand. Am. J. Phys. Anthrop.
52202.
Correa, N, Zambra, R, Gomez, G. Vargas, Y, Espinoza, V.
Ortega, E, Pagliero, B. and Valdes, A (1976)Frecuencia de
10s grupos sanguineos ABO y Rh en donantes de sangre
del Area Norte de Santiago. Santiago Rev. Tec. Med.
210-13.
Cummins, H, and Midlo, C (1943)Finger Prints, Palms and
Soles. Philadelphia: Blakistan Co.
Garn, SM, Burdi, A, Bahler, W, and Stinson, S (1975)Early
prenatal attainment of adult metacarpal-phalangeal rankings and proportions. Am. J. Phys. Anthrop. 43327-332.
Holt. S (1968) The Genetics of Dermal Ridges. Springfield,
Illinois: C. C. Thomas.
Loesch, D 11971) Genetics of dermatoglyphic patterns of
palms. Ann. Hum. Genet. 34277-293.
Mood, AM, and Graybill, FA (1963) Introduction to the
Theory of Statistics. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Osborn, RH. and de George, FV (1959)Genetic Basis of Morphological Variation. Cambridge: Harvard University
Press.
Penrose, L (1954) The distal triradius on the hands of parents and sibs of mongo1 imbeciles. Ann. Hum. Genet.
19:lO-27.
Penrose, L (1965) Dermatoglyphic topology. Nature
205:544-546.
Pons, J (1959) Quantitative genetics of palmar dermatoglyphics. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 11252-256.
Ramesh. A, and Murty. IS (1977)Variation and inheritance
of relative length of index finger in man. Ann. Hum. Biol.
4:479-484.
Tillner. I (1942) Untersuchungen uber Papillamuster. inbesondere im Hinhlick auf den Korporbautypus. Zeitsch.
fur Menschl. Vererbungs. u. Konst. 26:93-128.
Weiner, JS, and Laurie, J A (1969) Human Biology-A
Guide to Field Methods. I B P Handbook # 4 9 . Oxford
Blackwell Scientific Publications.
Wendt, GC 11954) Konstitutiou und Fingerleisten. Z.
Menschl. Vererb. u. Konstit. lehre. 32:116-125.
Wichmann. D (1963) Uber nechtlineare Korrelation der
quantitativen Werte der Fingerbeerenmuster mit der
Konper-Lohe. Anthrop. Anz. 26:55-61.
Valenzuela, CY, Rothhammer, F, and Chakraborty, R (1978)
Sex dimorphism in adult stature in four Chilean populations. Ann, Hum. Biol6;533-538.
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