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192   Life and Letters of Francis Galton

The last section of this chapter is entitled the Relative Influence of the Father and the Mother. The fore, middle, and ring- fingers of the right hand of the father and mother of 136 sons and 219 daughters were tabled under the 53 standard patterns, and I present Galton and Collins' results in the form of percentages of likenesses found in the case of the three fingers. It will be seen that for the fore and ring fingers there is no difference.

Percentages of Same Finger prints in Parents and Offspring on
the basis of 136 Sons and 219 Daughters.









Total Percentage

of Sameness

Father and Son   ...

Father and Daughter


13.2 °/23.5




14.0 °/0

58-8'/. l



50.7 %Mother


and Son   ...

Mother and Daughter

13-2-/ 0


36-S °/0


19.1 °/0


69-1-/ a)

67.7 °/o J: 68 4 %

I think it may be safely inferred from these percentages

(i) that the Son has no greater degree of resemblance to the Father than the Daughter has ;

(ii) that the Son has no greater degree of resemblance to the Mother than the Daughter has ;

(iii) that there is no sensible degree of difference between the resemblances of Father and Mother to their offspring in the fore and ring fingers;

(iv) that there does appear to be a difference in the middle finger, and this alone causes the Mother's total of resemblances to be greater than the Father's.

Are we to assert as a result of these conclusions (a) that the heredity factor has greater influence in the case of the middle finger, and (b) that the mother has more influence than the father on the finger-prints of the offspring?

Galton "does not pledge himself to (b), but merely throws it out as a suggestion. We must, however, note that the resemblances here given include not only the hereditary but the organic factor, and the values of the percentages given if they were corrected for,random agreement might show very different results. The middle finger has a far higher percentage of loops (see the table on our p. 184) than the fore or ring fingers, hence there will be a far larger number of random coincidences to be corrected for: Until that is done we cannot accept (a) as true on the basis of the above table. Further, Galton .has not given the digital distribution of patterns for the two sexes, and if these be not the same we cannot straightaway assume that (b) holds, or indeed that either parent has the like influence on son and daughter.

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