Fingerprints are friction ridged skin
that are found on the palms of our hands and soles of our feet. They start to
form on the developing fingers of a baby in the womb, with each and every
fingerprint being different. This friction ridged skin is used to enhance our
grip and handle objects more securely.
Fingerprints have been used as a method
of identification for thousands of years, as a method of signing contracts in
ancient China. However, using fingerprints as a way to identify criminals did
not make an appearance till 1880. As of now, fingerprinting is now one form of
biometrics. Due to being unique, fingerprints have a number of different uses,
some of these include:
the identity of someone/or corpse.
someone who was present at a crime scene.
recovered stolen property to a victim.
an individual to an object known to have committed an offence, for example a
Using fingerprints as a source of
evidence is very important, this is because people can be convicted, freed or
cleared on the basis of this evidence alone.
Fingerprint classification was first
introduced to the UK in 1901 and has since, stayed relatively the same. The first level of detail involves looking at
the macroscopic elements of the fingerprint where we identify the core and delta of
Fingerprints are classified into three
types of patterns;
This is where the ridges of the print start on one side of the finger and then
curve around or upwards through the core and delta, and exit the same side.
This is where one side of the ridges of the fingerprint slope upwards and then
slope downwards before exiting on the other side from where it started.
This is where some of the ridges go through a full circle. A fingerprint that
also has two or more deltas are also classified as a whorl.
As friction ridges skin is used to
enhance our grip, they do not run smooth across our fingers, toes, hands and
feet. Instead they display a number of characteristics known as minutiae:
over bridge –
a short ridge which runs between two parallel ridges.
single ridge that has split into two spate ridges.
•Lake – a
single ridge that bifurcates and then re-joins to continue the single ridge.
•Spur – a
bifurcation that has a short ridge branching off a longer ridge.
•Dot – an
independent ridge that has approximately the same length and width.