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Pick an athlete by finger

London, Sept. 28: Girls with the potential to become the next Paula Radcliffe or Dame Kelly Holmes could be identified at a young age by examining the length of their fingers, researchers say.

The most athletically gifted women are more likely to have ring fingers longer than their index fingers, according to a study that could add a new element to talent spotting in sport.

The findings, by researchers at King’s College London, add to growing evidence that shows the relative lengths of the two fingers can offer important clues to the biological influences that shape an individual’s body and mind.

On a typical female hand, the index finger is longer than the ring finger or about the same size, whereas men usu-ally have a longer ring finger. This is widely thought to reflect differences in the body’s exposure and response to the male hormone testosterone.

Such an effect could explain why the King’s team found that as women’s sporting achievements increased, so did the average length of their ring fingers in relation to their index fingers.

Although finger length in no way determines athletic talent, the work does suggest that both traits are influenced by the same biological effect, probably a genetic or environmental difference in testoterone.

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