Second-to-fourth digit ratio and facial shape in Buryats of Southern Siberia
Background: The 2nd-to-4th digit ratio (2D:4D) is a putative predictor of a prenatal exposure to sex hormones. 2D:4D is sexually dimorphic (males<females). Studies, linking digit ratio and full facial shapes among Europeans, show that a low 2D:4D is associated with a set of male-specific facial features. Buryats – Mongolian people from Southern Siberia – demonstrate a different pattern of facial sexual dimorphism than Europeans (narrower and more vertically elongated faces in men as opposed to women).
Aim: The aim of the present study was to investigate the association between facial shape and the 2D:4D in comparison to the pattern of facial sexual dimorphism in Buryats.
Subjects: Buryats: 88 men and 80 women aged 20 ± 2 years.
Outcome measures: To assess relationship between facial shape and 2D:4D we used a geometric morphometric approach based on standardized full-face frontal photographs and direct measurements of the digit lengths among right-handed individuals.
Results: The results revealed that 2D:4D was associated with facial morphology in Buryat men, and to a lesser extent in women. Narrower faces, elongated in the vertical direction, and a narrower lower facial outline, were characteristic of Buryat men with low 2D:4D ratios, which corresponded to the male-like facial shapes in Buryats.
Conclusions: In Europeans, such facial features were reported for men with a high 2D:4D, which corresponded more to female-like European facial shapes. Hence, our results show that sex-specific morphogenesis in humans is multidirectional, and that digit ratio is capable of predicting sex-specific facial traits even in populations with differing sexually-dimorphic morphology.