Can We Really Tell Ancestry By Just Looking At Someone’s Feet?

This picture has been buzzing all over the internet lately so here at I’m A Useless Info Junkie, being curious all the time, we thought “why we don’t investigate to see if there’s any validity to it”. So we did. And we have the answer.

Unfortunately, there is no evidence to suggest that your feet shape can reveal your ancestry. That being said, several studies have shown that indeed the relative length of the first and second toe vary among countries. For example, even though the first toe is in most cases the longest, in Ainu (indigenous people of Japan) it’s the second toe to be longest in 90% of persons.

In fact, this second toe being the longest is a condition called ‘Morton’s toe’ (from American orthopedic Dudley Joy Morton). Now here’s the thing about the ‘Morton’s toe’: it’s also called ‘Greek foot’ and that’s because it was the idealized form in Greek sculptures. Here’s a detail from a sculpture of Artemis: (the article continues after the ad)


Because this was opposed to the Egyptian foot where the great toe is longer, it often let the impression that having your second toe being the longest meant that you come from the Greeks whilst having the great toe the longest meant that you come from the Egyptians.

But there is no indication whatsoever that this is true. In Greek sculptures, this was used because it was considered the ideal aesthetic, not because the second toe was the biggest for all Greeks. This aesthetic standard even went on to the Roman and Renaissance periods and continued for later generations as well. One notable example, is the Statue of Liberty whose feet follow this proportion:

Photo: Creative Commons

But even if this theory had a chance of being true, it would have been impossible to verify since there is absolutely no way you could find samples from concentrated, isolated populations. In today’s world, no one is pure Egyptian, Roman, Greek, German or Celtic (the races we talked about in this article).

So, even though it’s an amusing meme that made us all look at our feet for a second, there is no scientific evidence that suggests its validity.

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: This Is How You Can Tell The Age Of Every Fish

Main Article Photo: If you own the copyrights to this picture, please contact us for appropriate credit.
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie

Sources: Toes, relative length of first and secondMorton’s Toe

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