When it comes to knowing how sporty they can be, well all women need to do is calculate the ratio between their index and ring fingers.
As part of the research, boffins used x ray pictures of the right and left hands of 607 female twins, whose average age was 53, with most of the women being right handed.
The ratio was calculated by dividing the length of the index finger by that of the ring finger. The researchers also asked participants to rank their highest achievement in a wide range of individual and team sports, since the age of 11, with participation levels being the highest for swimming, cycling, tennis and running in descending order.
The boffins found that the highest achievement in any sport was strongly linked to a low second to fourth finger ratio. The association with finger ratio was highest for running, soccer, and tennis.
The authors said that while it had been suggested by previous studies that the finger ratio is established in the womb due to the exposure to sex hormones, this study had found that genetic factors, rather than womb environment, influenced finger ratio.
The findings are published ahead of print in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.