Destiny at our f ingertips

Will we gain the job of our dreams? Will a child be successful in sports? Will an entrepreneur be able to start up in business? Do the answers lie in the patterns shown on our hands? Palm readers and fortune tellers with crystal balls might agree… but so do scientists

By Alexander Maximov

Anthropologists from the National Academy of Sciences’ History Institute have developed a unique method, using dermatoglyphics (the science of studying patterns on our hands and feet). It is thought that the lines we bear in these places could indicate our character and psychological type, foretelling likely behaviour in certain situations and the nature of our interpersonal relations.

To create a ‘readable’ print, you grease your hand with oil and press onto paper, giving an imprint of each finger separately. “Your head and life lines coincide. This means you are purposeful and can achieve a great deal if you work hard,” explains the Head of the Anthropology and Ecology Department at the National Academy of Sciences’ History Institute, Lidia Tegako. She flatters my ambitious side and I can’t help but feel she is embracing a certain mystical air. “Your fingers, in turn, feature lines common in phlegmatics,” she adds. Most previous tests have proven me to be inclined to be choleric but I don’t feel sceptical. Actually, I’ve become much calmer and more reasonable recently.

Scientists can’t foretell the future just by looking at the patterns on our palms but they can easily define the sex, approximate age and anthropological type of a person. To say more, many hours of study and analysis of ridge patterns are needed. These curls on the tips of our fingers form during our fourth month in the womb — and remain unchanged all our life. An embryo’s skin is closely connected with their nervous system, so the pattern on our palms is defined by the structure of our nerve-endings. If curls are seen on almost every finger, we may be sanguine or choleric, prone to excessive nerves. Arcs are common to melancholics, while a phlegmatic tends to have loops. It’s a true science, enabling us to learn about a person’s character and behaviour.

Italian doctor Cesare Lombroso — a prison psychiatrist who expressed the idea of the ‘inborn criminal’ — noticed back in the early 20th century that fingerprints of habitual offenders are very similar. Dozens of decade later, it was noticed that aggressive offenders tend to share genetic defects in their Y chromosome. “Our research may be useful to students wishing guidance in choosing a vocation or to companies seeking particular types of workers,” notes Ms. Tegako. “For example, a small company experiencing communication problems may find they are employing too many choleric personalities. Meanwhile, a reserved person may be less able to express themselves and be wondering whether to study for an arts degree; we’d analyse their palm and might advise on studying mathematics or science.”

Criminalists and psychiatrists are still working with scientists to perfect the science of dermatoglyphics but there’s no doubt that there is something to this ‘magic’.  Whether you wish to know if your business will be a success or whether you are suited to a particular activity, you may find the method useful. Unlike palm reading, this science focuses on fingerprints and experts see nothing dangerous in making such forecasts. Our destiny may be sealed in our hands, as Hippocrates believed centuries ago. His learned works remain with us today.

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