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Transcript of Fingerprints
There are three distinct ridge patterns:
History of Fingerprinting
Ancient artifacts have been found and used as proof that forms of fingerprinting have existed for hundreds of years. For example, there are records dating from ancient Babylon that show that fingerprints were used on clay tablets for business transactions.
In 1892, Vucetich was called in to assist with a case regarding the gruesome murder of two boys in a village near Buenos Aires. The boys' mother's throat was also cut, and initially the suspicion fell on her love interest. However, Vucetich found a bloody fingerprint at the crime scene and matched this print with the mother's. She later confessed to the crime. This was the first ever positive identification of a criminal using fingerprints, and the case is still famous to this day.
German, Ed. "The History of Fingerprints." Onin. Ed German, 30 Oct. 2013. Web. 11 Dec. 2013. <http://onin.com/fp/fphistory.html>.
Ferran, Lee. "Rare Twin Murder Case Echoes Bizarre Fingerprint Origins." ABC News. ABC News Network, 22 Feb. 2010. Web. 14 Dec. 2013. <http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/atlanta-twin-murder-case-echoes-fingerprint-origins/story?id=9909586>.
What is a fingerprint?
A fingerprint is an impression or mark left by the ridges on the tip of a human finger or thumb.
by Erika Steeves
Did you know?
Fingerprints vary from person to person and the structure of a print doesn't change over time. Even identical twins have different prints, making fingerprints more unique than DNA.
Although no two people have been found to have the same fingerprint, there's a one in 64 billion chance that a fingerprint will match up exactly with someone else's.
Fingerprints are formed in the womb, where movements and natural growth randomly dictate the characteristics on a baby's fingers.
Foot prints, also formed before birth, are unique to an individual as well.
The study or science of fingerprint identification is called dactyloscopy.
A loop is the most common pattern, as it occurs in about 65% of fingerprints.
In a loop pattern, the ridges will enter on one side, loop around an area and exit on the same side from which it entered.
There are two types of loop patterns:
Every fingerprint is made up of an arrangement of ridges, called friction ridges.
Every ridge contains multiple pores, and these pores are attached to sweat glands under the skin. It is because of this sweat that a person leaves fingerprints on just about anything he or she touches.
Whorls are seen in about 30% of fingerprints.
Any fingerprint that contains two or more deltas will be a whorl pattern.
A delta is a triangular-shaped pattern where different fingerprint ridges meet.
Slope towards the little finger
Slope towards the thumb
There are 4 types of whorl patterns:
Central Pocket Loop Whorl
Double Loop Whorl
Arches are present in only about 5% of fingerprints.
In an arch pattern, ridges enter on one side and flow out of the other.
There are usually no deltas.
There are two types of arch patterns:
consists of 2 separate and distinct loop formations
circular spiral pattern
irregular circular pattern
tight circular pattern in the center of the print
Minutiae are minor or incidental details. In forensics science however, they are major features of a fingerprint.
Minutiae are very tiny characteristics that can't be seen to the naked eye.
Examples of minutiae are:
Scientists use ridge patterns such as loops, whorls, and arches, as well as minutiae to identify prints.
In 1823, John Evangelist Purkinje, anatomy professor at the University of Breslau, published his thesis on the 9 fingerprint patterns. He however didn't relate his thesis to fingerprint identification.
In July of 1858, Sir William James Herschel, Chief Magistrate of the Hooghly district in Jungipoor, India had a local businessman impress his hand print on a contract out of impulse, without having thought about personal identification. Following this event, Herschel began to make a habit of requiring hand prints, and eventually only required the right index and middle fingers.
some of Herschel's fingerprint collection
The first known use of fingerprints in the U.S. occurred in 1882, when Gilbert Thompson of the U.S. Geological Survey in New Mexico used his own thumb print on a document to help prevent forgery.
Sir Francis Galton was a eugenicist who gathered over 8,000 different fingerprints to analyze. He published the first book ever to contain a fingerprint classification system in 1892. His system was based on patterns of loops, whorls, and arches.
Juan Vucetich, an anthropologist in Argentina, used Galton's ideas and expanded on them. In 1891, he became the director of the Center for Dactyloscopy in Buenos Aires, and in 1892 he made the first ever positive identification of a criminal using fingerprints.
For this reason, fingerprints are also known as dactylograms.
Vucetich called his system "comparative dactyloscopy," and police forces all over the world quickly adopted it.
In 1896, Sir Edward Henry added to Galton's technique and published his own system in his book "The Classification and Use of Fingerprints." His classification was based on the direction, flow, and pattern, amongst other characteristics, of the friction ridges in fingerprints. This became known as the "Henry Classification System" and it found worldwide acceptance in 1899.
In 1901, Scotland Yard established its "Fingerprint Branch," and the following year, fingerprints were used as evidence for the first time in English courts.
In 1903, the New York State Prison system adopted the use of fingerprints in order to identify and document prisoners after their arrest and imprisonment.
Soon thereafter, the FBI started using fingerprints as a mean of identification.
Similar to the plain arch, but has a spike in the center
Identifying someone using the Henry system would take up to several hours, if not more.
In the 1980s, the Japanese established the first electronic fingerprinting matching system, and the U.S. soon followed their example.
Nowadays,fingerprints are processed through the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), which contains the fingerprints for over 70 million criminals and over 34 million civilians, many in the form of two-finger records.
Types of Fingerprints
There are 3 types of fingerprints found by investigators:
They can be made by blood, ink, grease, or oil, amongst other things. They are visible to the human eye.
They are sometimes called hidden prints. They are caused by the transfer of sweat or oil onto a surface, and they're made visible with additional processing such as the use of powder or chemicals.
They are three-dimensional impressions left in soft materials such as clay, wax, or fresh paint. They are visible to the human eye.
"Atlanta Twin Murder Case"
In 2008, Donald Smith was arrested for the carjacking and murder of a preschool teacher in Gwinnett, Georgia.
Smith matched witness descriptions, appeared on surveillance camera footage, and there was DNA evidence that placed him at the scene of the crime.
All along, Donald proclaimed his innocence and asserted that his identical twin brother, Ronald Smith, was the one that was guilty.
When the police followed up on his claim, they realized that the fingerprints found on the scene of the crime matched Ronald's. They therefore initially had the wrong twin brother. When Ronald was confronted with the evidence, he admitted to the crime.
"In a justice system that often relies heavily on high-tech DNA testing, it was fingerprinting, a practice more than a century old,
that succeeded where DNA failed."
"Fingerprints." Crime Museum. National Museum of Crime & Punishment, n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2013. <http://www.crimemuseum.org/library/forensics/fingerprints.html>.
"Fingerprints & Other Biometrics." Federal Bureau of Investigation. FBI, 17 Mar. 2010. Web. 13 Dec. 2013. <http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/fingerprints_biometrics>.
"Fingerprints Used in Forensic Investigations." Forensic Biology. Bronx Science, n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2013. <http://www.bxscience.edu/publications/forensics../articles/fingerprinting/r-fing01.htm>.
"Juan Vucetich." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 17 Nov. 2013. Web. 13 Dec. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_Vucetich>.
Every fingerprint holds a unique pattern of whorls, arches, and loops.