Relative lengths of fingers and toes in human males and females

  • McFadden D
  • Shubel E
  • 67


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Digital scans of the hands and feet were obtained from 62 heterosexual females and 60 heterosexual males. Scans only of the hands were obtained from 29 homosexual females and 35 homosexual males. The lengths of the individual fingers and toes were estimated from those images by two experienced judges, and length ratios were constructed for all possible pairs of fingers (or toes) on each hand (or foot). Thumbs were not measured, but the great toe was measured and used to construct length ratios. Past research had concentrated on the relative lengths of the index and ring fingers (the 2D:4D ratio). This ratio is close to 1.0 in females and smaller than 1.0 in males. Here 2D:4D did exhibit the largest sex difference, for both hands, followed by 2D:5D and 3D:4D. The sex differences were larger for the right hand than for the left. For both homosexual females and homosexual males, nearly all of the length ratios for fingers were intermediate to those for heterosexual females and heterosexual males; that is, the ratios of homosexual females were masculinized and those of homosexual males were hypomasculinized, but few of these differences were significant. Because many toes were substantially arched, acceptable estimates of length often could not be obtained from the two-dimensional scans, meaning that conclusions about toes are much less certain than those for fingers. Nevertheless, the length ratios were generally larger for toes than for fingers, and the sex differences were generally smaller for toes.

Author-supplied keywords

  • *Anthropometry
  • *Sex Characteristics
  • Adult
  • Androgens/physiology
  • Female
  • Fingers/*anatomy & histology
  • Functional Laterality
  • Homosexuality, Female
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Orientation/physiology
  • Otoacoustic Emissions, Spontaneous/physiology
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual/physiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
  • Problem Solving/physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Toes/*anatomy & histology

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  • D McFadden

  • E Shubel

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