Monday, January 03, 2011

digiti

I heard a news report on the radio a few weeks ago about how the relative lengths of your fingers can be a marker of a person's risk of developing some kinds of cancer. It sounds unlikely but apparently it's got something to do with exposure to testosterone in the womb. Some research has suggested that having an index finger longer than your ring finger gives you a significantly lower risk of developing prostate cancer, and there may (or may not) be something similar with women and breast cancer.

The news report made me think of Roman statues. If the link is not immediately clear to you, have a look at the pictures below:

 

The first photo is from the National Archaelogical Museum in Naples, and shows the foot of the goddess Flora (here's the full statue). The second and the third are both from the Capitoline Museum in Rome; the second shows the feet of the Esquiline Venus (or possibly Cleopatra), the third the foot of what was once an enormous statue of Constantine. Apart from the fact that Venus is wearing sandals and not much else (here's the full statue), it's interesting to see that all the statues have second toes longer than their big toes. I had heard before that this was considered the ideal of beauty for Greeks and Romans, and it was interesting to see it in real life. I'm not sure why that was so, although I doubt it's related to hormone levels in the womb.

3 comments:

Sophia said...

My second toe is longer than my big toe. Guess I'm awesome then. Haha.

jm said...

and you probably won't get prostate cancer either.

Sophia said...

Phew, that's a load off my mind.