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Dermatoglyphics and anthropometric relationships within the Iupiat (Eskimo) hand.

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AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 83:103-109 (1990)
Dermatoglyphic and Anthropometric Relationships Within the
lfiupiat (Eskimo) Hand
CHERYL SORENSON JAMISON, PAUL L. JAMISON, AND
ROBERT J. MEIER
Anthropology Department, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
47405
KEY WORDS
Handprints, Fingerprints, Hand measurements,
Bilateral asymmetry
ABSTRACT
On the basis of earlier findings with Easter Islanders suggesting a positive correlation between dermatoglyphic variables and hand
anthropometric measurements, the present study was designed to determine
if such a relationship could be generalized to another population, namely,
Iiiupiat (Eskimo). Since some dermatoglyphic and anthropometric variables
were available for both sides of the body, the extension of this study to explore
the question of asymmetry was also possible. The Inupiat sample numbered
142 male and 176 female adult inhabitants of five Alaskan North Slope
communities. The major findings of this study included, for males, significant
negative correlations between left arm length and digital ridge counts and
positive relationships between the palmar variable of axial index and hand
length on both hands. For females, the hand breadthAength index was
negatively related to most of the digital variables. Very little definitive
information regarding the relationship of the asymmetry variables between
the two types of measures was ascertained.
If adult anthro ometric measurements
are at least artial y a function of developmental tren s established during the early
prenatal eriod (Lowery, 1986; Frisancho,
19781, anadermatoglyphic traits are formed
before the 20th gestational week (Cummins,
1929; Hale, 1949,1952; Mulvihill and Smith,
1969; Penrose and Ohara, 1973) the possibility that the two measures might demonstrate interrelationships generates a
number of interesting research questions.
Anthropometric and dermatoglyphic characteristics both result from a combination of
genetic and environmental forces. Although
the op ortunity for environmental impact
upon t e latter is limited to the early prenatal period, the environment continues to affect anthropometric variation throughout
the lifetime of the individual. Therefore, we
would assume that even if similar prenatal
events do have a causal effect on both kinds
of traits, they might not be strongly evidenced in adult anthropometric measurements.
In an earlier study with Easter Islanders
8 f
K
0 1990 WII,EY-I,ISS,
INC.
(Meier and Sorenson Jamison, 19871, we
found that for males, there were statistically
significant product-moment correlations
between hand measurements and digital
dermatoglyphics, while for females, the significant relationships were between anthropometrics and palmar dermatoglyphics. For
that study, hand measurements were only
available for the ri ht side, so bilateral
asymmetry could not e examined. The findings from that investi ation suggested that a
longer and narrower and was developmentally associated with higher ridge counts.
This conclusion differed markedly from that
reached by Rothhammer et al. (1982) in a
study of Chilleans where higher a-b counts
were associated with longer and wider
hands.
The resent research represents an extension o the earlier Easter Islander investigation. We were interested in determining
(1)whether those results would be repeated
f
a
P
Received May 1,1989; revised October 2,1989
104
C.S. JAMISON ET AL
with a different population (Alaskan Inupiat); and (2) since for some of these individuals, bilateral anthropometric measurements were available, whether a relationship between the asymmetry of the two types
of traits could also be demonstrated. Anthropometric asymmetry, when it is directional,
usually demonstrates the right side measurements to be larger (Ruff and Jones,
1981; Buskirk et al., 1956; Chibber and
Singh, 1972; Jolicoeur, 1963). Dermatoglyphic asymmetry is more variable, with
the general finding that digital ridge counts
are higher on the right while almar a-b
counts are greater on the left and (Holt,
1954;Bener, 1979; Singh, 1968; Jantz, 1975;
Jantz and Webb, 1980; Sorenson Jamison,
1987).
i:
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The original sample, on which this study
was based, was composed of 162 males and
180 females, at least twenty years of age,
living in five north slope Alaskan communities. Complete descriptions of the sample
and findings pertaining to the individual
dermatoglyphic and anthro ometric investigations have been reporte elsewhere (e.g.,
Jamison, 1978; Meier, 1978).
Since both types of data were not available
for all individuals, the sample for the present
study was reduced to 142 males and 176
females. Furthermore, over the years of data
collection, bilateral anthropometric variables dro ped out of the measurement
schedule. hus, both right and left side anthropometric data were available for only
the villages of Wainwright (arm length.
wrist breadth, and hand breadth) and Point
Hope (hand length). These much smaller
samples are utilized in studying asymmetry,
as well as in the determination of correlations between left side dermatoglyphics and
anthropometrics. Digital dermatoglyphic
analysis was performed by RJM (Meier,
1978) and almar analysis by CSJ. It should
be ointedpout that the palmar prints had
un Ipergone previous examination (Murad,
1975), but for the present study, they were
completely reanalysed to provide data comparable to our previous study.
The breakdown of individuals by sex and
village can be seen in Table 1. The present
investigation does not differentiate results
by village because such an analysis would
have sharply reduced the already restricted
sample size. Justification for combining the
x
!i!
TABLE I Iiiupiat Sample by Sex and Village
Village
__
Wainwright
Point Hope
Anaktuvuk Pass
Kaktovik
Barrow
Males
42
28
16
2
54
142
Females
____-____
41
48
22
4
61
176
Total
~~
83
76
38
6
115
____
318
villages into a single sample is based on
several considerations. First, they all fall
within a common Inupiat gene pool in which
there is genealogical evidence of intermarriage between residents of different villages.
Second, all the villages exist under similar
environmental conditions, including comparable histories of culture contact and acculturation. Third, and based on the foregoing,
the aim of this study is t o investigate underlying processes of growth and development
in the broader Inupiat population and
thereby to avoid the problems, such as drift,
associated with the smaller, individual village samples.
The anthropometric and dermatoglyphic
variables considered in this study are listed
in Table 2. In the earlier Easter Islander
study we partialled out age, stature, and
weight before correlating the dermatoglyphic and anthropometric variables. For
the present study, age and stature were
significantly ( P < 0.05) associated with a
number of dermatoglyphic variables, therefore necessitating their continued control
through partial correlation. Weight, however, was not highly correlated with dermatoglyphics in the earlier study nor in this
one. Since we did not have weight data for all
of the Inu iat samples, we did not control for
its possib e effect.
P
RESULTS
Partial correlations between dermatoglyphic and anthropometric variables in the
male Inupiat sample are presented in Table
3. These are the results achieved after controlling for the effects of age and stature.
Those correlations having a two-tailed significance of <0.05 are indicated with an
asterisk (*). It can be seen that out of a total
of 90 correlations, 12 are significant. This
number is substantially higher than chance
ex ectation in multiple comparisons.
!he most striking finding is the association of arm length and the dermatoglyphic
105
DERMATOGLYPHICS AND HAND ANTHROPOMETRICS
TABLE 2. Variables Examinwd in, this Study, Right and Left Side Measured Except Where Noted
Anthropometric
--.__.______
Digital dermatoglyphic
Palmer
dermatoglyphic
~ _ _ _ .
-
Total ridge count
Total ulnar count
Total radial count
Middle finger radial count
Middle finger ulnar count
Digital pattern intensity
a-b count
atd angle
Axial index
Palmar pattern intensity
.
Arm length'
Wrist breadth'
Hand breadth'
Hand lengthZ
Hand breadth/Length index2
,'Bilateral measurements available only for Wainwright.
2Bilateral measuremenk available only for Point Hope.
TABLE 3. Partial Correlations of Anthropometric and Dermatoglyphic Variables for Males, after Controlling
for the Effects of Age and Stature'
Anthropometric variables
-Dermatoglyphic
~ _ _ _ _ _ _variables
_Digital
Tot. ridEe count
I
Tot. ulnar count
Tot. radial count
Mid-fing. ulnar count
Mid-fing. radial count
Pattern intensity
Palmar
a-b count
atd angle
Axial index
Palmar pat. intensity
Arm
length
Wrist
breadth
Hand
breadth
Hand
length
Hand
Br/L%
index
-0.41*
0.05
0.09
0.06
0.03
0.05
0.09
-0.02
0.07
-0.19
-0.01
0.02
0.10
-0.37*
0.10
0.27
0.08
0.03
0.05
0.04
-0.21
-0.01
0.09
0.03
0.07
-0.02
0.05
L
R
-0.43*
0.06
-0.41*
-0.08
-0.29
0.05
L
R
L
R
-0.31*
0.08
-0.24
0.08
-0.17
0.06
0.05
0.09
-0.09
0.09
-0.38*
0.10
L
R
L
R
L
R
-0.26
0.02
0.22
-0.09
0.12
0.02
-0.05
-0.02
0.26
0.14
0.18
0.14
0.13
0.12
-0.34
0.03
0.09
0.02
0.1 7
0.21*
0.10
-0.08
0.00
0.18*
Hand
L
R
L
R
L
R
L
R
0.40*
0.00
-0.01
0.10
0.29
0.14
0.00
-0.15
0.12
0.15
0.49*
0.20*
-0.09
0.14
0.05
0.01
-0.01
__
0.15
_.
0.01
._
0.25*
0.07
Kight side, N= 118; left side, N = 28.
"Cannot calculate for left hand because bilateral measurements not taken on same suhjects
* P <0.05
variables-but only on the left side. 411 of the
significant associations, and most of the others as well, are negatively correlated with
arm length. This finding suggests that
longer arms are associated with lower counts
as well as lower dermatoglyphic complexity-the latter defined by pattern intensity.
It is interesting to note that such a relationship does not hold for the right arm, where
none of the correlations even approaches
_ _
ificance.
he next maior finding of interest is that
most of the significant correlations are on
the left hand. None of the right hand digital
siY
variables correlated highly with the anthropometric measures, although on the palm,
the situation is reversed, with the right hand
exhibiting the majority of the significant
relationships.
Partial correlations for females can be
seen in Table 4. Here, the most striking
results are the digital dermatogly hic associations with the right hand brea&Men h
index. For females, the side differential t at
was so apparent for the males does not show
up-indeed for this sex, there is a right side
advantage, although admittedly, not a very
substantial one.
Bt
106
C.S. JAMISON ET AL
T A B L E 4. Partial Correlations of Anthropometric and Dermatoglyphic Variables f o r Females, after Controlling
for the Effects of Age and Stature'
Anthrooometric variables
Dermatoglvohic variables
Digital
Tot. ridge count
Tot. ulnar count
Tot. radial count
Mid-fing. ulnar count
Mid-fing. radial count
Pattern intensity
Hand
L
R
L
R
L
R
L
R
I,
R
L
H,
Palmar
a-b count
atd angle
Axial index
Palmar pat. intensity
L
R
L
R
L
R
L
R
Arm
length
Wrist
breadth
Hand
breadth
Hand
length
0.07
0.01
-0.16
- 0.01
--0.29
0.01
-0.33"
-0.02
0.04
-0.08
0.16
0.04
-0.22
0.06
-0.21
0.10
--0.04
0.04
--0.24
0.14
-0.Z
-0.04
-0.12
0.13
-0.14
0.13
-0.01
-0.08
0.04
- 0.08
-0.0i
-0.05
0.03
-0.04
-0.09
0.27
0.15
-0.12
0.00
-032
-0.00
-0.32
-0.03
0.23
0.11
-0.22
-0.04
0.19
0.06
0.03
-0.09
0.29
0.15
-0.40"
-0.05
0.13
-0.06
0.20
0.08
0.14
0.01
-0.18
0.04
0.10
0.16"
0.06
0.09
-0.11
-0.02
-0.07
0.32
0.07
-0.10
--0.00
0.01
-0.02
0.11
-0.01
-0.05
0.16%
Hand
Br/Lg
index2
-0.17%
0.10
--0.19"
__
-0.01
-0.20"
-0.19%
0.06
0.05
0.09
_.
-0.09
'Right side, N = 156 left side, N = 28.
'Cannot calculate for left hand because bilateral measurements not taken on same subjects.
* P <0.05.
The relationship between the asymmetry
of the anthropometric and dermatoglyphic
variables proved a difficult problem t o address. It is a simple enough matter to determine whether there is significant directional
asymmetry expressed within a single variable, but then it is another issue to establish
whether a relationship exists between the
asymmetry of two different types of variables.
We first examined the directional asymmetry expressed in the individual variables.
Table 5 illustrates the results of the paired
t-tests for each of the dermatoglyphic and
anthropometric variables. It is clear that, for
both sexes, a significant amount of directional asymmetry is evident for most of the
variables: for males, 8 of the 14 t-tests indicated asymmetry at better than the 5%level,
while for females, 10 were significant. Since
the differences were calculated as right minus left, it can be seen that most of the
anthropometric measures were larger on the
right side (the sole exception being hand
length). The dermatoglyphic variables were
considerably less consistent, and for the palmar variables, at least, the left side typically
exhibited the higher value.
We then decided to see whether there was
a relationship between the directional asymmetry of the two types of data by subjecting
the right minus left difference for each variable to a correlation analysis. Although we
did find some significant results, they are
not easily interpretable, and a table of their
results is not included. Briefly, there was no
predictable relationship between the direction of the original variables and the significance or direction (i.e., positive or negative)
of the partial correlation. It can be stated,
however, that for males, most of the significant relationships occurred with the variable of wrist breadth difference, which was
highly associated with almost all the digital
dermatoglyphic variables. For females, all
the anthropometric difference variables (except that for arm length) correlated significantly with at least one of the palmar differ-
107
DERMATOGLYPHICS AND HAND ANTHROPOMETRICS
TABLE 5. Results of Pairwise t-Tests on Bilateral Variables
R
Dermatoglyphic (males = 128; females = 169)
Digital
Total ulnar rount
28.1
Total radial count
65.4
3.1
Mid-fing. U1. count
Mid-fing. rad count
11.7
Tot. ridge count
69.5
Pat. intensity
6.8
Palmar
32.8
a-b count
atd angle
41.7
Axial index
0.19
1.3
Pat. intens.
Males
L
Females
L
t
R
22.9
63.8
3.2
12.0
66.8
6.6
3.61.
1.4
-0.4
-0.7
2.81.
2.2*
25.7
62.0
2.5
11.9
65.6
6.7
26.2
56.7
4.2
61.6
6.6
-0.4
5.71.
-3.4t
2.1*
4.lt
0.6
34.6
41.9
0.18
1.5
--4.8f
-0.4
3.01.
-2.72t
32.4
42.4
0.23
1.4
35.1
43.6
0.21
1.4
-8.4t
-2.81.
3.11
0.4
71.4
6.2
8.6
19.4
0.6
0.4
6.31.
-6.0t
67.5
5.6
8.0
17.9
67.2
5.5
7.8
18.4
11.1
t
Anthropnmptrir' (males = 3.5; females = 38)
Arm length
Wrist breadth
Hand breadth
Hand length
71.4
6.2
8.8
19.0
1.4
3.6t
5.61.
-7.11.
'Measured in centimeters (cm)
* P< 0.05
t P < 0.01.
thus suggest that for the Inupiat hand, in
contrast to the Easter Islander hand, longer,
wider appendages appear to be associated
with lower digital ridge counts and pattern
intensities, but higher palmar counts and
pattern intensities. These results, however,
are congruent with those of Rothhammer et
al. (1982) who found a-b count to be positively correlated with hand size measurements. (They did not investigate digital variables). Our findings regarding the positive
relationship between atd angle and anthropometric variables also corroborate their results. The com arison of the results of these
three studies eaves more questions than
answers. The investigations were not directly comparable in the sense that there
was not a great deal of overlap in the variables considered, and there were different
treatments afforded the variables of sex,
stature, weight, age, and side of the body.
Therefore, the expectation of congruence of
results might be unwarranted. However, a
significant implication that should not be
overlooked, is the possibility that the findings of the three studies are valid expressions of population differences in developDISCUSSION
mental rate.
The most immediate implication of the
Differencesin the rate of prenatal developresults from this study is that they differ ment have been firmly established between
considerably from those of the Easter Is- the two sides of the brain (Chi et al., 1977;
lander investigation. Our present findings Thatcher et al., 1987) and there is evidence
ence variables, but only the hand length
difference correlated with any of the digital
difference variables.
With the hope of a clearer interpretation,
we therefore decided to look at correlations
of the absolute differences between right
and left sides for the two types of variables.
Furthermore, since examination of the distribution of the absolute difference variables
revealed distinctly non-normal distributions, partial correlation (which assumes
normal distribution of the variables) could
no longer be used. Therefore, the nonparametric Spearman Correlation was utilized.
The results were, admittedly, not very exciting. Out of a possible 40 correlations, only
three for each sex, less than the number
expected by chance, were found to be significant. Therefore, on the basis of these findings, asymmetry does not appear to be implicated in the corresponding development of
anthropometric and dermatoglyphic variables. However, the small sample size for the
asymmetry analysis suggests that a more
conservative approach might be that no conclusion can be drawn from these results.
P
108
C.S. JAMISON
ET AL
that the two sides of the body develop at ciation of Physical Anthropologists, San Didifferent rates as well (Siniarska and Sarna, ego, April 5-9, 1989.
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d"
E
R
'i
f
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We wish to acknowledge the contribution
of Stephen L. Zegura to the data collection
hase of this study. Financial support for
BP fieldwork came from the following
sources: Air Force Office of Scientific Research, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Science Foundation
and the Office of Naval Research. An earlier
version of this paper was presented at the
58th annual meeting of the American Asso-
I!
79-93.
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DERMATOGLYPHICS AND HAND ANTHROPOMETRICS
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