December 14, 2012
Earlier this week the BBC has presented a report about the first woman in the world who has managed to write a different language with each of her hands… simultaneously!
Chen Siyuan (24) is an ambidextrous translator from Handan in China’s northern Hebei province, and she learned herself to write with both hands at the same time, in order to complete her translation-work faster. She discovered that repetition-writing with two hands has helped her to use her time more efficient.
By the way, her talents extend to writing poetry using different hands to write consecutive sentences at the same time, and perhaps the most surprising aspect of this story is that Chen Siyuan is able to writing Chinese with one hand and English with the other.
Here’s the BBC-video report about Chen Siyuan’s rather remarkable ultimate ambidexterity writing skills:
November 17, 2012
Zhang Haiguo, an expert in dermatoglyphics, has earlier this month been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Prize for Anthropology by The Shanghai Anthropological Association.
The 62-year-old native from Shanghai became e.g. known for collecting dermatoglyphic variables from China’s 56 ethnic groups in an attempt to trace their origins and migratory route over a period of 30 years. Zhang Haiguo’s team has collected more than 150 samples by surveying more than 68,000 Chinese from all 56 ethnic groups – his study became known as the world’s first research of dermatoglyphic variables involving all ethnic groups of a country.
Zhang Haiguo has divided the ethnic groups into north and south groups. The research presents some surprising discoveries. For example, Tibetans’ origins could be traced from the very north of China, instead of India as popularly believed.
Zhang Gaoshan ethnic group, a community in Taiwan, was found to have originated from the Chinese mainland instead of from the islands of the South Pacific regions.
The professor says the research will also help in the study of some genetic diseases like Down’s syndrome. Based on his research, Zhang concludes that the disease will happen to one of every 690 Chinese people.
Zhang says he is currently exploring a new research method, which combines generic and dermatoglyphic research in a bid to better decipher the origins of ethnic groups.
“Which section of DNA decides people’s fingerprints? It has been a dilemma for scientists around the world, and I hope my years of study can shed some light,” he says.
When asked about his opinion on telling one’s fortune through palm reading, he says:
“I have perhaps seen more palms than most fortune tellers. But I don’t think someone can tell others’ fortune through palms. Someone invited me to join fortune telling 20 years ago, but I refused.”
Haiguo is currently a professor from the School of Life Sciences in Fudan University and a former associate professor from the department of medical genetics in Shanghai Jiaotong University’s School of Medicine. Zhang has published more than 70 articles and six books on dermatoglyphics. But his latest findings are compiled in a book, Dermatoglyphics of China’s 56 Ethnic Groups, which was published in July. His research data has also been published on PLoS ONE, an international peer-reviewed online publication of the US Public Library of Science.
Hand shape varies between the two sexes: males typically have larger, relatively broader hands, while females typically have smaller, relatively narrower hands. But hand shape also varies among the various populations around the world: in Asia the avarage hand shape is relatively narrower than in European & North American countries. And there is even a link between hand shape & intelligence!
But in order to understand these patterns properly, one first has to understand the relations ship between hand shape & body length. Because in general, all longer populations in the world (males, Europeans & North Americans) typically display a relatively broad hand shape, while all small populations (females, Asians) typically display a relatively narrow hand shape.
A good measure to describe the shape of the hand is the so-called ‘hand index’, which is defined as the ratio between the ‘hand width’ (= palm width measured at the metacapals) vs. the ‘hand length’ (= the distance between the tip of the middle finger and the distal wrist crease).
The average ‘hand index’ in human kind is close to 0.44, and is typically much higher than the ‘hand index’ seen in primates, which is typically (far) below 0.40 (though in gorillas – the largest of all primate species – the ‘hand index’ is higher than 0.40).
NOTICE: Finger length can also be measured relative to ‘hand length’ & ‘hand width’, but that topic will be discussed later.
HAND SHAPE & SEXE:
In males the ‘hand index’ is typically higher than 0.44, and measures above 0.45 are often seen. While in females the ‘hand index’ is typically lower than 0.44, and measures below 0.43 are not rare at all. These sexe differences are for a large part the result of the body height differences between males and females.
HAND SHAPE & RACE:
The average ‘hand index’ among the various races differs significantly, and is typically lower among asians. In people from China does not vary a lot from the average of human kind, but among for example people from Japan & India the ‘hand index’ is typically close to 0.43 or even lower. At least partly these differences are explained by racial differences in body height.
HAND SHAPE & IQ:
A high hand index typically correlates with a low IQ. And this link between hand shape & IQ has been confirmed in quite a few studies among various types of populations.
In a 1980 study in the former Yugoslavia reported among 540 men a negative correlation between hand index & all 10 measures for IQ.
Regarding the sexe differences, one has to be aware of the earlier mentioned point that tall populations typically have a higher ‘hand index’. The fact that women have a lower ‘hand index’ compared to men, is largely neutralized by the fact that women are smaller than men. And therefore there one should not associate this sexe difference with IQ differences among the sexes (because so far there is no evidence for that at all).
And finally there is evidence that when the ‘hand index’ is corrected for body height, then this appears to explain a significant part of the IQ differences that are typically seen between the nations of the world. Though this issue has not been studied thoroughly.
HIGH OR LOW ‘HAND INDEX’ IN INDIVUALS:
The above describes patterns for hand shape implicate that regarding the implications of a high or low ‘hand index’ indivuals, one always has to consider sexe & race before jumping into conclusions!
Time for a hand shape palm reading… what is your ‘hand index’?
February 24, 2011
Last year (2010) another report was made about an unnamed 6-year-old Chinese boy who had 16 toes and 15 fingers.
The boy had unprecented 31 digits, which included 15 fingers and 16 toes! But I am not sure that it would have been recognized as a world record because obviously in the fingers there is ‘syndactly’ involved, which implicates that not all fingers would have been counted – just like in the case of Heramb Ashok Kumthekar:
Anyway, the Chinese boy’s family did not go to apply for a Guinness World Record, rather sent him to Shengjing Hospital affiliated with China Medical University in Shenyang recently to undergo a surgery to remove the extras because he suffered from the inconvenience in the daily life and also being ridiculed from peers of the same age at his school. So appearantly the parents made a very sensible decision.
Participate in the discussion about these RECORD fingers & toes:
February 2, 2011
Xiao Qian - a 4-year-old girl from China (Wuhan, Hubei province) - has five fingers on her left hand and six fingers on her right hand – see photo.
At Pu’ai Hospital, Doctor Xin Danmo operates on Qian, removing her left-most finger and attempts to fashion the end finger into a thumb.
The cause of the extra finger (polydactyly) is attributed to radiation or chemical exposure to the mother during pregnancy.
But why remove the extra finger? The child at the very least could be used to sell rings, type, pick things up and play the recorder. Will she thank her parents when she’s older?
But bigger than any of that, Qian is a sign that the rush to do way with imperial measures, the adoption of the metric system – because the French mostly have ten fingers – is hasty.
Anorak News suggests:
“We say stick another finger on Qian’s left hand and make her patron saint of the Metric martyrs. We march on Paris – on our hands!”
What advice would Hrithik Roshan (the famous Bollywood actor who’s double thumb was presented last month at Madame Tussauds) provide the partents of this girl…?
MORE STORIES ABOUT UNUSUAL FINGERS:
• The Five Digits News
The photo above displays the hands of the nine men who govern 1.3 billion people: the 9 leaders of the Chinese Party of China. With Hu Jintao as the party’s major leader.
They are the nine people who marched onto the podium in the Great Hall in Beijing: the top management of a party consisting of about 78 million members at the end of 2009 which constitutes about 5.6% of the total population of mainland China. They are the so-called standing committee of the party’s political bureau.
The CPC is the world’s largest political party!
MORE DETAILS: Take a look at the high-resolution version of the hands of the 9 leader of the Communist Party of China, or take a look at the hands of other political leaders in the world.
In 1988 a very unusual hand therapy became available at various Spa centers in the world, named: ‘Doctor fish’. Doctor fish are a species called Garra Rufa (and Cyprinion Macrostomus) - which originate in pools near two small Turkish towns, Kangal and Sivas. In non-medical contexts, Garra rufa is called the reddish log sucker. They have long been known for their ability to treat the symptoms of skin conditions, especially: psoriasis!
“Doctor fish” – so named for their ability to produce healthy, glowing results from even the most crusty or diseased epidermis – are the key ingredient in a spa and skin treatment becoming increasingly popular across Turkey, Japan, China, Europe and the US.
The idea is that you immerse your hands, feet, or, if you are brave enough, your entire body in a warm pool that swarms with hundreds of hungry minnow-sized feeders. The fish zoom in on your most crusty, flaky or scabby skin and chomp away at it to reveal the fresh layer beneath. According to the spas and their enthusiasts, you emerge refreshed, healthy, buffed and glowing.
SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:
• Let’s shake hands with the hand fish!
• Into the hands of ‘Paul the Octopus’!
• The mystery of the five fingers!
• Five things that your 5 fingers can tell you!
• The difference between the human hand & the hands of primates!
Fingerprints found in Mongolian cave made during the ‘Paleolithic Period’.
After French argeologists found last summer the ‘oldest’ portrait in the history of mankind in French caves (from 32,000 years ago), recently archeologists have discovered 6,000-year-old fingerprints & paintings in a cave in Mongolia.
A Bernama report (from Malaysian News Agency) describes:
“Chinese archeologists have discovered two 6,000-year-old sites with coloured cave paintings and fingerprints in a mountain in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Xinhua news agency reports Thursday.
Wang Dafang, an official with the Inner Mongolia Cultural Bureau, said the paintings from the Paleolithic Period were discovered in two caves on Yabrai Mountain on the edge of the world’s fourth largest desert, Badain Jaran, in Araxan League.
Archeologists believe the fingerprints were painted with mixed dyestuff of ochre powder, animal blood and water. Painters may have used bone pipes to blow the dyestuff onto the cave walls. Wang said three other sites of Paleolithic cave paintings with fingerprints had been found in Araxan.
“The cave environment, the painting style and the dyestuff used for the paintings here are similar to European Paleolithic cave paintings,” Wang said.
He added the cave paintings in Araxan have been badly damaged by weathering and rain water erosion. Except for the fingerprints, no drawings can be made out”
SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:
In april (2009) Mister Zhao Liang from China entered the Tianjin hospital for an operation to relieve pain from an old muscle tendon injury on his left foot. His height caused a stir among hospital staff who urged him to get measured properly in order to establish a new Guinness World Record! Zhao Liang’s length was measured at 2.46m (8.07 ft. tall), making him 10cm (3.9 inches) taller than Bao Xishun, the current tallest man, who is 2.36m (7.9ft).
Rather remarkable, contrary to many other rather exceptionally long people in the world, Zhao Liang’s remarkable body seize is not caused by a medical problem. Zhao Liang’s parents are of a more usual height:
- his father measuring 1.8m (5.9 ft.) – which is quite long, for the average length for chinese men is 1.73m;
Though the seize of his hands may not be as large as the hands of Leonid Stadnyk from Ukraine (who appears to have the largest ‘normal’ male hands in the world) and Duangjai Samaksamarn from Thailand (who appears to have the largest ‘abnormal’ females hands in the world), the hand of Zhao Liang look very impressive compared to the hand of one of the doctors of the Tianjin hospital – see the photo above.
Nevertheless, Zhao Liang’s mother is quite a bit concerned about the health of her son:
“He [Zhao Liang] has a big appetite and can easily eat eight hamburger-sized steamed buns and three dishes for dinner. But I am so worried about his marriage, job and his health that my hair has turned white.”
READ MORE ABOUT LARGE HANDS:
• Leonid Stadnyk has the largest hand in the world!