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Patric S. Igbigbi, Boniface C. Msamati
Med Sci Monit 2002; 8(11): CR757-761
BACKGROUND: Dermatoglyphic traits have been shown to be genetically determined, conservative in their evolution, and different between and within population groups. There have been a few reports dealing with Southern African populations, but there appears to be no published report for indigenous black Zimbabweans. MATERIAL/METHODS: Bilateral palmar and digital prints of 270 indigenous black Zimbabweans were recorded, studied and classified using standard methods. The total finger ridge count (TFRC), pattern intensity index (PII), atd angle, and a-b ridge counts were analyzed and the data compared with those of Malawians, South African Zulus and Nigerian Yorubas. RESULTS: Ulnar loops were the most predominant digital pattern type in both sexes followed by whorls in males and arches in females. Females had significantly higher atd angles than males (p<0.01). Significant differences were also demonstrated between Zimbabwean and Malawian females, and between Zimbabwean and Yoruba men in TFRC and a-b ridge counts. Similarly significant differences were observed between Zimbabwean and Malawian males, male Zimbabweans and Yoruba, and male Zulus and Yorubas in atd angle and a-b ridge counts (p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: This study documents similarities in digital ridge patterns between Zimbabweans, Malawians, and to some extent South African Zulus, indicating their close historical and anthropological relationship. However, Zimbabweans could be differentiated from the other population groups using certain dermatoglyphic traits. Nevertheless, all the groups showed some features common to other black Africans.