Maciej Mularczyk, Angelika Ziętek-Czeszak, Zbigniew Ziętek


Introduction: Studies on many populations have shown that the length of the second finger (2D) compared to the fourth (4D), expressed as the finger length ratio (2D:4D), might be characteristic for sexual dimorphism. It was also found that the values of 2D:4D differ significantly between examined populations. It is thought that the value of 2D:4D is determined in early foetal life under the influence of genetic factors and the strong influence of sex hormones. It has been proven that the values of 2D:4D are related to, for instance, sexual orientation, and artistic and sporting ability. Recently, increasing interest in the clinical significance of finger length ratio in the diagnosis of somatic and mental disorders has been observed. For example, it was found that values of 2D:4D in individuals suffering from congenital adrenal hyperplasia or autism were significantly lower compared to healthy subjects. The aim of the study was to determine sexual dimorphism in finger length ratio among representatives of the Polish population.

Materials and methods: The study group comprised 115 people (57 females and 58 males). Anthropometric measurements were taken from the second and fourth finger of the right and left hands – from the point of dactylion (da) to pseudophalangion (pph) using analogue callipers. We calculated the significance of differences in 2D:4D between males and females separately for the right and left hands.

Results: In both hands mean 2D:4D values were lower in males than in females. The difference in the right hand reached the statistical significance level with p < 0.05.

Conclusions: Among the subjects from the examined population the 2D:4D ratio shows trends characteristic for sexual dimorphism.


finger length ratio (2D:4D); sexual dimorphism; sex hormones

Full Text:

PDF (Język Polski)


Baker F.: Anthropological notes on the human hand. Am Anthropol. 1888, 1, 51–76.

Phelps V.R.: Relative index finger length as a sex‑influenced trait in man. Am J Hum Genet. 1952, 4, 72–89.

Manning J.T., Scutt D., Wilson J., Lewis‑Jones D.I.: The ratio of 2nd to 4th digit length: a predictor of sperm numbers and concentrations of testosterone, luteinizing hormone and oestrogen. Hum Reprod. 1998, 13, 3000–3004.

Lutchmaya S., Baron‑Cohen S., Raggatt P., Knickmeyer R., Manning J.T.: 2nd to 4th digit ratios, fetal testosterone and estradiol. Early Hum Dev. 2004, 77, 23–28.

Brown W.M., Finn C.J., Cooke B.M., Breedlove S.M.: Differences in finger length ratios between self‑identified “butch” and “femme” lesbians. Arch Sex Behav. 2002, 31, 123–127.

Manning J.T., Pickup L.J.: Symmetry and performence in middle distance runners. Int J Sports Med. 1998, 19, 205–209.

Poulin M., O’Connell R.L., Freeman L.M.: Picture recall skills correlate with 2D:4D ratio in women but not men. Evol Hum Behav. 2004, 26, 174–181.

Trivers R.L., Manning J.T., Thornhill R., Singh D., McGuire M.: Jamaican symmetry project: longterm study of fluctuating asymmetry in rural Jamaican children. Hum Biol. 1999, 71, 419–432.

Fink B., Neave N., Manning J.T.: Second to fourth digit ratio, body mass index, waist‑to‑hip ratio, and waist‑to‑chest ratio: their relationships in heterosexual men and women. Ann Hum Biol. 2003, 30, 728–738.

Manning J.T., Barley L., Walton J., Lewis‑Jones D.I., Trivers R.L., Singh D. et al.: The 2nd:4th digit ratio, sexual dimorphism, population differences, and reproductive success: evidence for sexually antagonistic genes? Evol Hum Behav. 2000, 21, 163–183.

Manning J.T., Stewart A., Bundred P.E., Trivers R.L.: Sex and ethnic differences in 2nd to 4th digit ratio of children. Early Hum Dev. 2004, 80, 161–168.

Bartel H.: Embriologia. Wyd. Lek. PZWL, 1999.

Malinowski A., Strzałko J.: Antropologia. PWN, Warszawa–Poznań 1985.

Malas M.A., Dogan S., Evcil E.H., Desdicioglu K.: Fetal development of the hand, digits and digit ratio (2D:4D). Early Hum Dev. 2006, 82, 469–475.

Williams T.J., Pepitone M.T., Christensen S.E., Cooke B.M., Huberman A.D., Breedlove N.J. et al.: Finger length patterns indicate an influence of fetal androgens on human sexual orientation. Nature. 2002, 404, 455.

McFadden D., Shubel E.: Relative lengths of fingers and toes in human males and females. Horm Behav. 2002, 42, 492–500.

Honekopp J., Watson S.: Meta‑analysis of digit ratio 2D:4D shows greater sex difference in the right hand. Am J Hum Biol. 2010, 22, 619–630.

Manning J.T.: Digit Ratio: a pointer to fertility, behavior, and health. Rutgers University Press, London 2002.

Jamison C.S., Meier R.J., Campbell B.C.: Dermatoglyphic asymmetry and testosterone levels in normal males. Am J Phys Anthropol. 1993, 90, 185–198.

Garcia‑Cruz E., Huguet J., Piqueras M., Ribal MJ., Alcaraz A.: Second to fourth digit ratio, adult testosterone level and testosterone deficiency. BJU Int. 2012, 109 (2), 266–271.

Manning J.T., Baron‑Cohen S., Wheelwright S., Sanders G.: The 2nd to 4th digit ratio and autism. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2001, 43, 160–164.

Brown W.M., Hines M., Fane B.A., Breedlove S.M.: Masculinized finger length patterns in human males and females with congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Horm Behav. 2002, 42, 380–386.

Okten A., Kalyoncu M., Yaris N.: The ratio of second‑ and fourth‑digit lengths and congenital adrenal hyperplasia due to 21‑hydroxylase deficiency. Early Hum Dev. 2002, 70, 47–54.


Copyright (c) 2016 Maciej Mularczyk, Angelika Ziętek-Czeszak, Zbigniew Ziętek

License URL: