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Although a great deal has been written concerning the occurrence of abnormalities of the hands and fingers, relatively few studies have been made to determine variations of the normal hand. The purpose of this study is to gather some valid statistics concerning the occurrence of variations in finger length within a segment of the general population. It is hoped that this study will serve as the beginning of a valid basis upon which a study of human inheritance can be built. Because the interindividual difference in the pattern of finger length consists in the relationship between the index and ring fingers, this varying relation has been most often reported in the literature. Humphry (1861) observed that the middle finger is always longest, the little finger shortest, and the index finger longer than the ring finger. Ecker (1875) noted that a variation exists, and that the ring finger was sometimes equal to the index and in the greater percentage of cases longer. Mantegazza (1877), Gruning (1886), Baker (1888), Schultz (1926), and Koenner (1938) verified his study. Many noted that a relatively long index finger was found more frequently in females than in males. Wood Jones (1920) considered 1he ·longer ring finger a simian trait, and the longer index finger a more human manifestation. George (1930) found a long ring finger more common in males, but a long index finger predominant in females. Phelps (1952) found similar results and presented a theory for sex-linked inheritance. Whitney (1942) assumed that the determination of finger length depended on multiple alleles. The number of hands of females measured in these studies ranged from 190 to 620. Methods depended on hand board (George) or pivot ruler measurements (Phelps) and pencil tracings.

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Journal Title

Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science





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©1954 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.



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