Did you know the length of your ring finger could determine whether or not you are fertile, prone to prostate cancer or, if you are a women, likely to be a lesbian?
A study in the British Journal of Cancer appears to show that men whose ring fingers are longer than their index fingers are more likely to develop prostate cancer. If you're a man, chances are you've already checked your fingers and found cause for alarm.
Don't worry too much: the majority of men have a longer ring finger. In addition to being disheartened, you probably also found checking your fingers for length a bit familiar: in the last 10 years, "digit ratio" has been alleged to predict many different traits, risks, advantages and deficiencies.What else might your fingers tell you?
Digit ratio is to some extent sexually dimorphic - men tend to have longer ring fingers, women more or less equal ring and index fingers - and is thought to be an indicator of one's level of exposure to testosterone in the womb.
But variation is even wider across different ethnic groups. As digit ratio researcher Dr John Manning puts it, "There's more difference between a Pole and a Finn than a man and a woman."
In his 2002 book Digit Ratio: Pointer to Fertility, Behaviour and Health, Manning found that men with longer ring fingers tended to be more fertile. It's the other way round for women.
Testosterone is believed to protect against heart attacks, and a 2001 study showed a lower risk of early heart attacks in men with the smallest index-to-ring finger ratios.
Two years ago, Cambridge researchers found that City of London traders with longer ring fingers made more money than their short ring-fingered colleagues. They're also thought to be more aggressive, and more likely to take risks.
A California study looking at the fingers of 720 men and women from San Francisco showed that lesbian women tended to have the more masculine (long ring, short index) finger arrangement.
A 2005 German study (involving only 40 volunteers) showed that men scored higher on spatial skills (the "bad driving" part was a leap of imagination on the part of the media) but that women with longer ring fingers did better than those whose ring fingers were equal to, or shorter than, their index fingers.
Copyright: Guardian News & Media 2010
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