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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 80-83

Sexual dimorphism of palmar dermatoglyphic parameters of an adult student population in Nigeria

1 Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi Campus, Nigeria
2 Department of Microbiology, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Uli Campus, Anambra, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication4-Jan-2019

Correspondence Address:
Chijioke M Okeke
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi Campus, Anambra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/AIHB.AIHB_25_18

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Context: Dermatoglyphics is the scientific study of the epidermal ridges and their configurations on the surfaces of the palms, fingers, soles of the feet and the toes. Aims: The aim of the study was to determine whether there exists any sexual dimorphism in A-B ridge count (ABRC) and ATD angle. Settings and Design: This was a cross-sectional study. Materials and Methods: Four hundred individuals (200 males and 200 females) were studied. Age range was 18–30 years. Palm prints were captured using a Deskjet scanner. Dermatoglyphic parameters were measured manually. Statistical Analysis Used: Statistical analysis was done using descriptive statistics and Student's t-test. Results: The mean values of ABRC in males were 42.08 ± 3.84 (right palm) and 41.94 ± 4.39 (left palm), while the ABRCs in females were 42.46 ± 4.40 (right palm) and 41.97 ± 3.46 (left palm). The mean ATD angles in males were 43.07 ± 4.99 (right palm) and 43.99 ± 4.77 (left palm), while the mean ATD angles in females were 43.91 ± 5.11 (right palms) and 44.05 ± 5.12 (left palms). There was no statistically significant difference between the mean values of both parameters in both sexes and in both palms. Conclusion: There was no sexual dimorphism in the values of ABRC and ATD angles, and therefore, these parameters cannot be used to infer gender in our environment.

Keywords: A-B ridge count, ATD angle, sexual dimorphism

How to cite this article:
Ukoha UU, Ukoha C, Okeke CM, Simon TE. Sexual dimorphism of palmar dermatoglyphic parameters of an adult student population in Nigeria. Adv Hum Biol 2019;9:80-3

How to cite this URL:
Ukoha UU, Ukoha C, Okeke CM, Simon TE. Sexual dimorphism of palmar dermatoglyphic parameters of an adult student population in Nigeria. Adv Hum Biol [serial online] 2019 [cited 2022 Aug 19];9:80-3. Available from: https://www.aihbonline.com/text.asp?2019/9/1/80/244773

  Introduction Top

Dermatoglyphics is the scientific study of the epidermal ridges and their configurations on the surfaces of the palms, fingers, soles of the feet and the toes.[1],[2],[3] The feature of permanence and uniqueness confers on dermatoglyphics, the property of identification. Thus, dermatoglyphics is a useful tool in the field of forensics, criminology, paediatric medicine, genetic research, psychiatry, anthropology[3] and study of population variation.[4],[5]

Since sexual dimorphism in dermatoglyphic parameters has not been studied in our environment, this study aims to find out whether or not any sexual difference exists in palmar dermatoglyphics in our environment.

  Materials and Methods Top

The study was carried out among the undergraduate students of the College of Health Sciences of our university. The research procedures followed the ethical standards of the Declaration of Helsinki. Ethical approval was obtained from the Ethical Committee of the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences of the university (NAU/CHS/NC/BMS/164), and consent was obtained from the individuals.

The study was a cross-sectional study, and samples were selected by simple random sampling technique. The sample consisted of apparently healthy participants within the age range of 18–30 years. A total of 400 students (200 males and 200 females) were studied. Inclusion criteria included apparently healthy students within the stated age category, who did not have any obvious deformity of the hand, surgery or neuromuscular disorder of the hand.

Participants were asked to wash both hands with soap and water and then dry them with a dry towel. Both palms were placed on the surface of an already set HP Deskjet® 1510 series (manufactured by Hewlett Packard Computers in China), in such a way that the palms made contact with the surface of the printer [Figure 1]. Consequently, the palms were scanned. The image was saved in a laptop and later was printed out. Height and weight of the participants were also measured and were documented.
Figure 1: Capturing the image of the palms using a scanner.

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The pictures were subjected to detailed dermatoglyphic analysis which involved identifying the following anatomical landmarks of the palm [Figure 2]:
Figure 2: Dermatoglyphic landmarks for measurement.

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  1. The triradii A, B, C and D just below the four digits of the hand starting from the index finger to the smallest finger
  2. The triradius T which is found on the base of the palm between the hypothenar and thenar eminences.

These landmarks were carefully noted and marked on the paper which contained the picture of the palm using a sharp-pointed pencil. With the help of a magnifying hand lens and a needle, a pencil, ruler and a protractor, a total of two parameters were taken from each palm of both left and right hands. Moreover, they were as follows:

  • The ATD angle: This angle is formed by lines drawn from the digital triradius A to axial triradius T and to digital triradius D
  • The A-B ridge count (ABRC): This includes the number of ridges intersected by a line drawn between the triradius A and the triradius B, excluding the ridges forming the triradii.

Data were analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS Statistics for Windows, version 20.0, IBM Corp., IBM Armonk, NY: USA). Descriptive statistics were applied, and test of significance was done using the Student's t-test. P value was set at 0.05.

  Results Top

The mean age for males was 22.39 ± 2.34, and the mean age for females was 20.87 ± 2.13.

The mean values and standard deviations of the two dermatoglyphic parameters measured in both hands and in both sexes are shown in [Table 1]. In all parameters, the females had slightly higher values than male counterparts, but the differences were not statistically significant.
Table 1: Comparism of palmar dermatoglyphic parameters studied between males and females

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In males, the mean value of ABRC on the right palms was higher than on the left palms, but the difference was not statistically significant. On the contrary, the mean value of ATD angle was higher on the left palms than the right palm, and the difference was also not statistically significant.

The variation in magnitude of the mean values of ABRC and ATD angle in the right and left palms of females follows the same pattern as in males. Thus, the mean value of ABRC was higher on the right palm than on the left, whereas the value of the ATD angle was higher on the left palm than on the right palm. However, these differences were not statistically significant.

  Discussion Top

This work studied two quantitative dermatoglyphic parameters, namely ABRC and ATD angle, in both males and females in our environment, with a view to finding out whether there exists any significant difference in mean values of these parameters by reason of gender.

The ABRC is a reliable measure of the distance between the triradius A and triradius B.[6] This distance can as well be measured directly. However, then, it will be subject to error due to variable sizes of the palms. Error can also result from the variability in pressure and spreading of the hand when the palm prints are captured.[6] These sources of error make direct measurement of the AB distance unsuitable and unreliable. Therefore, ABRC is more reliable.

The values of ABRC in our study were slightly higher in females (42.46 ± 4.40 [right hand] and 41.97 ± 3.46 [left hand]) than in males (42.08 ± 3.84 [right hand] and 41.94 ± 4.39 [left hand]). However, the differences were not statistically significant. This was similar with the results of a study by Akingbade et al.[7] among Yoruba ethnic group living in Jos, Nigeria, which reported thus males (33.67 ± 5.121 in the right palm and 34.64 ± 5.885 in the left palm) and females (35.11 ± 4.941 in the right palm and 35.66 ± 4.674 in the left palm). Another study[8] in Sardinians showed statistically insignificant differences in ABRC among males and females. He reported that ABRC on the right hand was slightly higher in males (40.54) than in females (40.42), and ABRC on the left hand was slightly higher in females (41.94) than in males (41.40). The above reports, therefore, show that the value of ABRC cannot be used to infer gender from unknown palm print samples in our environment.

We observed that the magnitude of the average ABRCs in both palms was higher in our study (males: 42.01 and females: 42.20) than the values from the work of Akingbade et al.[7] (males: 34.16 and females: 35.39) and the work of Otobo and Tarimobo-Otobo,[9] conducted among the Ijaw ethnic group of Nigeria (males: 31.08 and females: 31.55). The difference may be due to variable ethnic/genetic differences. There seems to be no reference value for ABRC in the literature that can be generally used for all population. The reason is not farfetched, owing to variable genetic predisposition of different groups of people. For this reason, any comparison that should be made with dermatoglyphic parameters has to be done within the same ethnic/geographical region.[10]

In both males and females, in our study, the mean ABRCs on the right palms were slightly higher than those of the left palms [Table 2] and [Table 3]. However, these differences were not also statistically significant. El-Banna andShehata[11] studied dermatoglyphics of Egyptian males and females between the ages of 20 and 30 years. The study included right-handed participants as well as left-handed participants. They did not find any significant difference in the mean values of ABRC between males and females. However, they discovered that left-handed individuals had significantly higher values of both ABRC and ATD angle than right-handed individuals. However, the scope of our study was limited to sexual dimorphism and did not include handedness.
Table 2: Comparison of AB ridge count and ATD angle on the right and left palms of male subjects

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Table 3: Comparison of AB ridge count and ATD angle on the right and left palms of female subjects

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The mean ATD angles from males in our study were 43.07 ± 3.84 (right palm) and 43.99 ± 4.77 (left palm) and that for females were 43.91 ± 5.11 (right palm) and 44.05 ± 5.12 (left palm). There was no statistically significant difference in the values of ATD angle between males and females. El-Banna and Shehata.[11] reported a statistically significant difference between Egyptian males and females and concluded that the findings could help in sex identification in cases of mutilated remains such as dismembered hand. The difference with our results may be due to different ethnic and/or genetic factors.

There is variation in the mean ATD angles in several reports. However, the literature suggests that the average normal ATD angle is 44.5°,[12] which is comparable with our findings. Decrease or increase in ATD angle may be suggestive of genetic predisposition to certain disease conditions. Thus, measuring ATD angles, which is a simple non-invasive tool, is useful in screening certain disease conditions. Vashist et al.[12] reported that ATD angles <30° or >65° are suggestive of mental retardation. Chaudhari et al.[13] reported a statistically significant decrease in mean ATD angle in cases of pulmonary tuberculosis as compared with a control group in males and females and in both hands. This goes further to suggest that genetic predisposition is implicated in the aetiopathogenesis of pulmonary tuberculosis. Trivedi et al.[14] also reported a statistically significant increase in mean ATD angle on the right palms of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus patients as compared to a control group.

  Conclusion Top

The results of our study showed that there was no statistically significant difference in the value of ABRC between males and females. It also showed that there was no significant gender difference in the values of ATD angle. The values of both parameters were also found to be comparable in both palms without any significant difference.

The values from this work may well serve as a reference point in our environment and thus provides a basis for comparison with the findings of future studies within the area.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Hansi DB, Ashish DB, Neeti SK. Distribution of fingerprint patterns in an Indian population. Malays J Forensic Sci 2014;5:18-21.  Back to cited text no. 1
Lakshmana N, Nayyar AS, Pavani BV, Ratnam M, Upendra G. Revival of dermatoglyphics: Syndromes and disorders, a review. Adv Hum Biol 2017;7:2-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
  [Full text]  
Bhardwaj N, Bhardwaj P, Tewari V, Siddiqui MS. Dermatoglyphic analysis of fingertip and palmer print patterns of obese children. Int J Med Sci Public Health 2015;4:7.  Back to cited text no. 3
Igbigbi PS, Msamati BC. Palmar and digital dermatoglyphic traits of Kenyan and Tanzanian subjects. West Afr J Med 2005;24:26-30.  Back to cited text no. 4
Biswas S. Finger and palmar dermatoglyphic study among the Dhimals of North Bengal, India. Anthropologist 2011;13:235-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
Pons J. Genetics of the A-B ridge count on the human palm. Ann Hum Genet 1964;27:273-7.  Back to cited text no. 6
Akingbade AM, Saalu LC, Akunna GG, Anderson LE, Olusolade FS. Finger and palmar dermatoglyphic study among the Yorubas in Jos, Nigeria. Ann Bioanthropol 2014;2:49-53.  Back to cited text no. 7
  [Full text]  
Floris G. Palmar intertriradial ridge counts in Sardinians. Adv Anthropol 2015;5:137-43.  Back to cited text no. 8
Otobo TM, Tarimobo-Otobo R. Digital and palmar dermatoglyphic characteristics of Ijaw ethnic group. Int J Forensic Med Invest 2016;2:25-30.  Back to cited text no. 9
Iscan MY. Forensic anthropology of sex and body size. Forensic Sci Int 2005;147:107-12.  Back to cited text no. 10
El-Banna AS, Shehata GM. Determination of gender and handedness among Egyptians by handprints and finger dimensions. Egypt J Forensic Sci Appl Toxicol 2013;13:1-23.  Back to cited text no. 11
Vashist M, Yadav R, Neelkama L, Kumar A. Axial triradius as a preliminary diagnostic tool in patients of mental retardation. Internet J Biol Anthropol 2009;4:1.  Back to cited text no. 12
Chaudhari JS, Sarvaiya BJ, Patel SM, Patel SV. Study of ATD angle, finger ridge count in pulmonary tuberculosis patients. Int J Anat Res 2015;3:1520-4.  Back to cited text no. 13
Trivedi PN, Singel TC, Kukadiya UC, Satapara VK, Rathava JK, Patel MM, et al. Correlation of ATD angle with non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus in Gujarati population. J Res Med Dent Sci 2014;2:2.  Back to cited text no. 14


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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