The Finger

Detail from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel...Michealangelo's Creation of Adam
Detail from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel...Michealangelo's Creation of Adam

Frogs and Snails or Sugar and Spice?


Ever wondered how masculine or feminine you really were? Well it's all in the finger according to evolutionary biologist John Manning.


After measuring the ring finger of thousands of men and women Manning discovered that the levels of testosterone and oestrogen you get in the womb determines the length of your finger. Interestingly, genes which control the development of the fingers also control the development of the testes and ovaries. The amounts of male or female hormones received in the womb determines ring finger length.


Get Your Tape Measures Out



According to Manning "Because the development of the ring finger is under the influence of testosterone males have longer ring fingers relative to their index fingers than women do." The longer the finger, the more testosterone. Conversely men who received low foetal concentrations of testosterone have a shorter fourth to second finger ratio.

A women with a ring finger longer than the index finger is likely to have received an extra squirt of testosterone in utero. Women whose fourth finger is shorter than their second finger would have received higher levels of various female hormones such as oestrogen, prolactin and luteinising hormone. It should be noted that the differences in the two finger ratios are usually quite small.


Researchers first cottoned on to the idea that there might be something in this hand to sex hormone connection through work done back in 1986 on the genes of fruit flies and the discovery of something called the homeobox. This is a DNA sequence found in the genes of many animals and is involved in the regulation of patterns of development, such as head-to-tail organization.


We are still learning about this homeobox gene - but we do know that the homeobox is in every creature where we have gone looking. Each of these living creatures has - and that goes for humans as well.

The bit of the homeobox that controls the manufacture of your hands also controls the manufacture of your genitals. More specifically, the ends of your arms (the hands) and the end of your trunk (the genitals) are controlled by the same bit of DNA. We know (from this study) this is definitely locked in by the age of two.

Dr. Karl Kruzelnicki, ABC Science


So the next time some posturing brute gives you the finger take a look at the digits either side to determine their real machismo levels.


Sources


Catalyst Science, ABC

The research was carried out by Dr Manning and his team from the Population Biology Research Group, at the School Of Biological Sciences, University of LiverpooL



From John Mannings "Finger Book".
From John Mannings "Finger Book".

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Comments 18 comments

Arthur Windermere profile image

Arthur Windermere 6 years ago

Fascinating. So what are the average 'scores' for men?

Not that it matters much, because I apparently have lady hands. That explains why I hang around in bars dressed in women's clothing. Gee, thanks John Mannings.


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

Another brain surgeon who convinced someone to pay him to do "research" :-))


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

I can never get that close to viewing the FINGER from the jerk who flagged me with it, if I could they certainly would have lost some very valuable testosterone. Interesting post and observation about the ring finger, I've never taken that close a look, but mine looks promising.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Wow - and all the time I thought they were waving to me because they liked me!

Love and peace

Tony


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Lol..I'm loving these comments.

Arthur, you poetry reading wuss! It's alright, my index finger seems to be a fraction shorter than my fourth so I must have got that extra squirt of testosterone. Not that I've got chest hair or anything....


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

Jane Bovary, This is a fabulous hub. I rate it UP and call it a Must READ! I love science and have never read such an interesting science hub since I've been here. I just flat out love it. thanks and peace :)


ralwus 6 years ago

rated up as this was most interesting. Mine is .8831, whatever that means. My ring size is 15, does that say anything? Don't really matter I reckon, as I am well past my prime now. Thanks for a good read. CC


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Katie and Ralwus....thanks very much for the comments. It is pretty interesting. When I first heard about it I went around measuring everyone's fingers. It seems all the women in my family got a little extra testoterone somewhere along the line. We're ball breaking amazons!

Rawlus if your ring finger is longer than your index finger you're all man! [But I don't reckon it matters either]


ralwus 6 years ago

I have a very large great toe as well. hehe


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Full of testosterone no doubt!


DavitosanX profile image

DavitosanX 6 years ago

Hey, I broke my left ring finger once, and it kinda became larger. Now I wonder if I released vast loads of testosterone on that occasion, while screaming foul words in my pain.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Lol! Could be...


jj200 profile image

jj200 6 years ago from My Bedroom

This was a fun hub. There is some very odd science going on out there, thanks for sharing.

I don't get along well with photocopiers (traumatic work-related experience) "why does it say paper jam when there is no paper jam?!?" ... so I won't be measuring, and I'm also scared as to what the results may mean anyway. I don't want to find out I'm a woman after all via an HP hub.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Hahaha...you seriously made me laugh there JJ! You know, I think an extra squirt of hormone from the opposite sex is probably a good thing. I'm quite proud of my testosterone finger.

And yes...photocopiers aren't to be trusted!


jj200 profile image

jj200 6 years ago from My Bedroom

I'm glad my trauma and insecurities are a source of laughter and entertainment for you!

Perhaps I've missed my calling as a circus clown...

This hub begs the follow up question of if there is any correlation between one's own finger ratio and the finger ratio of those they are attracted to. Any thoughts? If there's empirical evidence on this matter, I may just have to stick my hand inside the beast and embrace the prospect of potentially giving birth some day...all in the name of finding true love.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

That's an interesting question JJ,,,,perhaps men who like women with a longer index finger prefer assertive types and vice-versa...but I wouldn't have a clue really. There's a good science research grant in there somewhere.

Lol...you don't need to confront the dreaded photocopier..just check to see if your ring finger is longer than your index and you'll get a general idea...the greater the ring to index finger ration, the more testosterone. Usually the differences are tiny and and absolutely no cause for concern. Too much testosterone may not be a good thing anyway...


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

My fingers look proportionate. I have short fat fingers. I always wanted a longer "Rockefeller salute" finger. Are there "add-ons"?


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Sure Micky...haven't you been getting those *enlarge your ring finger now* ads in your mailbox...?

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