Polydactly (extra fingers) is one of the 10 most common pediatric orthopedic conditions, and this condition has been studied as early as the days of Charles Darwin, who suggested that the condition of having more than the usual number of fingers or toes (polydactyly) was an ancient trait, now mostly formant, that occasionally reappears due to some hereditary misstep.

Basically, there are three polydactyly variants:

A – most common is the variant featured with an extra pinky (see picture above)

B – less common is the variant featured with an extra thumb

C – rare is the variant featured with an extra index finger, middle finger or ring finger


A few (recent) reports about polydactyly:

 – UK: The story of a farther + son who were both born with 12 fingers and 12 toes

INDIA: A 4-year old boy enjoys the attention for his extra fingers

Bollywood moviestar Hrithik Roshan has 2 thumbs on his right hand

Facebook has a brand new ‘polydactyly’ group!


Hrithik Roshan – the Bollywood moviestar – has a very unusual thumb, which was not easy at all at young age. But in time he learned to accept (and love) his abnormality; Roshan once described:

“I had this extra thumb…I stammered and in school – you know what kids are like – well, it was hell most of the time. My being quiet and sensitive came about as a consequence. I never felt normal. I always felt abnormal. I always felt I did not fit in.”

NOTE: On a technical level one can describe Roshan’s thumb as a combination of two abnormalities: polydactyly + syndactyly.


More impressions & info about Hrithik Roshan’s thumb are available at:

A Tribute to Hrithik Roshan’s thumb!


PS. There are many more celebrities who have unusual hands; to mention a few:  Denzel Washington, Megan Fox & Thom Yorke.

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.

Palm Reading?

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.

Via: ChinaDaily.com

Scientific ‘fingerology’ may help you to identifiy your most likely potential for success… or failure via the ratio of only two fingers. What is your 2D:4D digit ratio?

More blogging-reports are available at:

The Finger length &  Digit Ratio blog

PS. Your digit ratio can be seen as a measure for prenatal testosterone, which explains why this finger-measure correlates with many aspects in life!

Any parent would be eager to see that his/her baby is in healthy status when the child is born. They would count the fingers and toes of the baby. If the child does not have a perfect set of 10 fingers and 10 toes, that would usually upset them of the abnormality. Dr. Mohd Iskandar Mohd Amin, Consultant Orthopedic, Hand and Micro surgeon at Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur says that seven in 1,000 babies are born with congenital hand deformities worldwide.

Thirty percent of congenital hand deformities are caused by genetic abnormalities, while 10 percent are linked to environmental causes. The remaining 60 percent happens for no known reason.

Dr. Iskandar says that the most common type of congenital hand deformity is caused by developmental problems while the baby is in the womb.

The common types of deformities are:

Syndactyly (failure of separation)

It has two categories – simple syndactyly (fusion of soft tissues between the two fingers) and complex syndactyly (fusion of soft tissues and bones of two fingers).

Polydactyly (duplication of extra finger)

It has three categories – Type 1 (an extra finger is attached by the skin and nerves), Type 2 (the extra finger is attached to the bone or joint of the little finger) and Type 3 (a completely formed and functional extra finger attached to the hand).

Brachydactyly (undergrowth)

The thumb of the fingers is usually small and underdeveloped. Some fingers may be missing.

– Macrodactyly (overgrowth)

The thumb, index finger or forearms are abnormally large due to overgrowth of bone and soft tissue.

– Constriction Band Syndrome

The fingers become malformed because of constriction by the fibrous bands of the amniotic sac which were entangled with the fetus’ fingers in the mother’s womb. Sometimes, the bones, muscles and tissues are joined together like a flower bud.

Dr. Iskandar mentions the irony is that the child often does not feel the hands are abnormal until he/she enters school and undergoes societal pressure. He adds that children being amazingly versatile are usually able to manage their daily life even with their deformed fingers or hands.

He explains; “the parents and the grandparents are the ones who are most distressed when they have children with congenital deformities. They wish to know whether it is hereditary and whether the siblings will have the same deformity.”Another anxiety is about whether the child will have normal function and it will be a cause for undergoing ridicule in later life.

Microsurgery for congenital hand deformities remains a highly specialized surgical or sub-specialty as the surgeon needs to have in-depth knowledge of orthopedics, neurology, plastic surgery and neurosurgery.Undergoing counseling by the parents and grandparents before the surgery is vital to better manage their expectations. It is also good to talk to support giving nurses and parents who are in similar circumstances to share their thoughts, fears and tears.

Dr. Iskandar says that usually surgery helps to improve the appearance of the hands, such as removing an extra thumb or pinky finger.He elaborates, “In some cases, surgery is done to enable the child functioning of the hand, for instance, when a child is having flower bud fingers needing a thumb and forefinger to manage buttons and zippers best. However, sometimes it is not possible to make a child’s hand ‘normal’, but he/she can function well with it, at least.”
In order to reduce physical and psychological scarring, usually surgery is performed within the first two years of the child’s life. It also enables new hand to function with full potential and for new growth and development.

Sometimes congenital hand deformities are a part of other conditions, i.e. Appert Syndrome, an underdeveloped face, nose and skull bone or Holt Cram Syndrome, often accompanied by congenital heart disease.In such situations, it is necessary to correct the other underlying problems first as they are life-threatening issues.

Source: The Nation

Find your hand shape in 3 steps!

The picture above serves to describes how to find your Elemental Hand Shape in just 3 steps.

The picture shows how each of the 4 elemental hand shapes tends to have a specific combination of proportional hand shape ratios.

In short: the Earth hand shape is featured with short fingers + short palm length, while the Fire hand shape is featured with short fingers + a long palm shape. 

And the Air hand shape is featured with long fingers + a short hand shape, and finally the Water hand shape is featured with long fingers + a long hand shape.

Now, how to find your hand shape in 3 steps?


Find your hand shape dimensions by measuring your finger length (fl), palm breadth (pb) and palm length (pl) as indicated by the hand at the top of the picture.


Calculate the three proportional RATIOS for your 3 hand shape dimensions as follows:

– RATIO 1: fl/pl = finger length versus palm length ratio
– RATIO 2: fl/pb = finger length versus palm breadth ratio
– RATIO 3: pl/pb = palm length versus palm breadth ratio

Then you can find the RATIO-SIGN (in terms of ‘+’ and ‘-‘ signs) for each ratio in the center-part of the picture.


The three RATIO-SIGNS together represent your ‘hand shape profile’: in the bottom part of the picture above you can find out in which category of the elemental hand shape types your hands are.

Suggestions for further reading about how to recognize & interpretate the Earth hand shape, Fire hand shape, Air hand shape & Water hand shape …


Finger length proportions & hand shapes!


Healing hands! 

Woman born without thumb and finger ‘sprouts’ phantom limb after amputation!

Neuroscientists say the case powerfully demonstrates the interaction of nature and nurture in creating and sustaining body image.

A study published in the journal Neurocase: The Neural Basis of Cognition reports on a curious case about a woman who, following the amputation of her right hand, sprouted a phantom hand that contained five digits, including a new thumb and finger that had never been there in the first place.

Born without a thumb and finger on her right hand, the 57-year-old woman, nicknamed RN in the case study, had her whole hand amputated following a car accident at the age of 18. As generally happens to people following an amputation, RN experienced the sensation of a phantom limb — the vivid impression that the limb was still there. In some case, the phantom limb hurts as well.
“But here’s the interesting thing,” said Paul McGeoch at the University of California, San Diego. “Her phantom hand didn’t have three digits, it had five.”
Yet those double phantom digits were perceived to be only half-size, and they came with considerable “crushing and throbbing” pain. Three decades following the amputation, McGeoch and V.S Ramachandran (also from U.C. San Diego) managed to elongate her short phantom finger and thumb to normal size using mirror visual feedback via a box that creates the visual illusion of two hands. In the process, the pain was treated as well.
“Historically, phantom pain has been difficult to treat,” said McGeoch, explaining how traditional painkillers tended to fall short. “But the mirror box has shown to be effective by many trials over the years.”
Authors of the case study note that a hardwired representation of a complete hand had always been present in her brain, and once the entire hand was gone, what merged was a phantom hand with five fingers, which was then further enhanced by false visual feedback from a mirror. The case demonstrates the interaction of nature and nurture in creating and sustaining body image.
Matthew Longo at Birkbeck, University of London, told New Scientist magazine that it is a fascinating case study. “It contributes to a growing literature suggesting that our conscious experience of our body is, at least in part, dependent on the intrinsic organization of the brain, rather than a result of experience.”

Mother Nature Network

The Guardian, Aug 1 – People have started speaking with hashtags. Not often, and not, in most cases, people anyone really likes, but people nonetheless. And the problem – beyond the fact that this is happening at all – is that no one seems to be quite sure how to say, for example, #spokenhashtag.

Abruptly inserting the word “hashtag” mid-sentence just won’t do. It’s far too clunky, like having to shout out “inverted commas!” before and after a suspect sentence, instead of forming a pair of air-quote bunny rabbits.

An “air hashtag” also looks tricky: attempting to draw out the # symbol with a finger takes four time-consuming strokes, and makes you look as if you’ve paused mid-thought to bust out a hand-jive to the imaginary music in your head.

Trying it with two fingers and two quick strokes – one horizontal and one vertical – just looks like an effete mimed raptor attack, while going all-out with two slashes of both hands risks being mistaken for a bizarre attempt at semaphore without flags.

They would all also require you to say “hashtag” while doing them anyway. At least at first, until people caught on.

No, we need standardisation. We need – drumroll please – a hashtag tone of voice. Sarcasm, after all, has one. Why not the humble hashtag? It’s the new gesture-language, and it appears a matter of time before you’ll tweeting fingers everywhere!

Testing. Is it time to stop and scrounge for shelter or is it better to keep trekking? Use this simple trick to measure the remaining daylight. Remember to allow yourself at least two hours to set up camp before the sun goes down.

Count the finger widths between the sun and the horizon. Each finger is equivalent to fifteen minutes, with each hand totaling an hour. When the sun dips low enough that only two hands fit. It’s time to search for a suitable campsite and assemble a shelter.

(A caveat: if you’re near the poles, the sun will hover over the horizon for a longer period of time, giving you an innaccurate reading)

Via: Groovy Matters.

While watching the swimming tournament at the London Summer Olympics, take a good look at the hands of the competitive swimmers! For, new research finds that this hand position creates an “invisible web” of water that gives swimmers more speed. Now, should Michael Phelps improve his ‘finger-techniques’?

Researcher Adrian Bejan, a professor of mechanical engineering at Duke University reports:

“It is a counterintuitive idea, the fact that you should paddle with a fork, not with an oar.”

However, the 2012 study was preceeded by a 2009 study which had already pointed out why most swimmers spread their fingers while swimming (see the picture below – describing how water flow varies for different finger positions).

Webbed feet and hands, of course, are a common trait of swimming animals from frogs to whales. In human swimmers, the invisible web of water allows them not to propel themselves faster, but to better lift themselves out of the water. That’s where the speed comes from, Bejan said. Swimmers push against the water’s surface not unlike South American Lizards, which can scamper on top of water by slapping their big feet against the surface. This force propels the swimmers out of the water, where they then fall forward, generating a horizontal wave.

“The higher you are above the water, the faster you fall forward and you see this effect in greater speed,” Bejan said.

With ideal finger spacing, the forces a swimmer can exert are 53 percent greater than those produced with no finger spacing, Bejan and his colleagues reported online June 9 in the Journal of Theoretical Biology. For aspiring swimmers at home, the perfect spacing is between 0.2 and 0.4 times the diameter of the finger itself.

The findings could have implications for better swimming robots and propulsion systems, Bejan said. They’re also handy for those trying to beat personal bests in the water.

What do you think: should Michael Phelps improve his finger-swimming techniques… in order to make another golden- paddle?

(Check out Phelps’ finger techniques below!)