According to "The Art of Hand Reading," a book due in October (DK Publishing, Inc., $24.95) by Lori Reid, hands hold the key to life, love and happiness.
For instance, did you know the shape of hands and fingers reveal character? Earth-handed people (square palms, short fingers) are said to be practical and materialistic; air-handed people (square palms and long fingers) are excellent communicators; fire-handed sorts (rectangular palms, short fingers) are sociable and ambitious; and the water-handed (rectangular palms, long fingers) are intuitive and creative. Compatibility can be measured by these hand types. The least compatible pairing would be between the Earth- and water-handed.
Fingerprints are unique to individuals and this might have been known in China as far back as 3,000 BC when an emperor used his own thumbprint as a personal mark on documents.
The condition and appearance of the fingernails and its moons are useful health diagnostic aids.
Our sense of touch is acute in our hands because we possess 100 nerve endings per square centimeter on each fingertip, as opposed to five nerve endings per square centimeter on less sensitive areas. Thus fingertips are protected by nails.
About 50 babies in every 100,000 are born with extra fingers or toes, a condition called polydactyly. It's a genetic anomaly that runs in families, but during the Middle Ages, a sixth finger was associated with witchcraft. Rumor has it that Anne Boleyn, wife of Henry VIII, had six fingers on each hand and her enemies referred to her as "Anne the witch." She was beheaded in 1536.
Spacing between fingers can be significant. If your hands at rest, naturally form a Vulcan greeting - middle fingers apart - then you're resourceful and independent.