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Fingerprint Ridge Patterns - Facts

Updated on May 10, 2013
Ink Fingerprinting
Ink Fingerprinting

Dactyloscopy means “study of fingerprints”, the word comes from the Greek language ‘daktylos’ (which means finger) and ‘skopein’ (which means examine).

Fingerprints are composed of a very unique combination of ridges that make patterns of arches, deltas and loops, as well as ending ridges, island ridges, broken ridges, dots, forks, spurs, bridges, eyes, bifurcations and other distinguishing marks.

Unique fingerprints are formed seven months after conception.

Scientists believe that the ridges on your fingers are used to grasp objects. These ridges provide friction so that the objects we grasp will not slip through the fingers. They also believe that these ridges can enhance your sense of touch.

Fingerprints come out from the interior fleshes of our skin.

Although the size of your fingers continue to grow from pre-birth to childhood to adulthood but the relative position of your ridges (with their arches, loops and deltas) will remain the same.

No two people have exactly the same fingerprint pattern. Even Siamese twins have varying fingerprints.

The natural oils in your skin cause your fingerprints to be left behind when you touch most objects. Our skin pores produce sweat and oils, which distributed on our fingers. When we touch something these liquids (in the shape of your fingerprints) are left on the surface – just like a rubber stamp with ink on it). However, it is difficult to get fingerprints on clothes and carpets as they absorb the oils.

Koala have human-like fingerprints
Koala have human-like fingerprints

Koala is believed to be the only animal known to have fingerprints that virtually indistinguishable from those of human beings.

Identification of criminals is the most common use of fingerprints.

We cant change or alter our fingerprints by burning, cutting, or scraping them. Their patterns will remain the same when new skins develop.

A person’s fingerprint will change only if he or she gets a surgery, disease, or an injury.

People get identified by fingerprint but cats and dogs get identified by their noses.

The laser helps in obtaining fingerprints from human bodies.

The FBI’s fingerprint database is the largest in the world – it receives about 34,000 fingerprint cards every day.

Different main type of fingerprint ridge patterns
Different main type of fingerprint ridge patterns
Latent fingerprints are made from oil and sweat on human skin surface
Latent fingerprints are made from oil and sweat on human skin surface

Fingerprint patterns are divided into three main groups consisting of: whorls, loops and arches.

Loop is the most common fingerprint – about 65% of all palms have such pattern.

An undetected fingerprint is termed as “latent”.

In order to create an ink fingerprint, your finger is first cleaned with alcohol so that any sweat can be removed. After that, the finger is rolled in ink to cover the entire finger before it is placed onto cards.

A brush and powder are used by the Crime Scene Investigators in order to get fingerprints the criminals left at the crime scene. They then take a photograph of that fingerprint and lift it from the surface using tape. Superglue is used when the fingerprint is on a trickler surface and they will put it in an airtight room which develops those fingerprints to be seen.

With the help of advanced computers and software, now scientists dont even need complete fingerprints any more. Half a fingerprint now can be identified and matched with a comparison sample.


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