Relationships of epidermal ridge patterns with body measurements and their possible evolutionary significance Academic Article uri icon


  • It is commonly believed that in humans epidermal ridge patterns are in regression relative to nonhuman primates, and they play no role in adaptive processes. In contrast with this we have found relationships between anthropometric and dermatoglyphic measurements in a sample of 61 normal males. Anthropometric variables included limb, trunk, head, and face measures. Dermatoglyphic variables included finger ridge counts and pattern intensities and ridge breadth in the palmar interdigital area II. The strongest relationship is between the type and size of pattern on the thumb and the breadth of ridges, and wrist width, which accounts for nearly 30% of the total variance in these traits. These findings identify previously unknown sources of variation in dermatoglyphic patterns and indicate that the dermatoglyphic-anthropometric relationships might have resulted from selection pressures in evolution of modern man.

publication date

  • June 1990