1 January 2017

Fingerprints are developed from a unique way that most people cannot even guess how they come about (Fingerprint, 2012). There are many different types of patterns on a person’s finger. Where do a person’s fingerprints come from? Fingerprints develop in a fetus growing in the mother’s womb, between the gestational weeks 12 and 16. The development of the prints is when the fetus is touching things inside their mother, like when a baby kicks or pushes around inside the womb (Fingerprint, 2012) this is the reason being that no two people, not even identical twins, has the same fingerprint pattern.

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Dactylography is known as the history of fingerprints (Fingerprint, 2012). Before Americans discovered the idea of classifying fingerprints; evidence from Nova Scotia, Ancient Babylon, and the Chinese T’ang Dynasty were present within the eighth century (Lyman, 2011) Their use of the fingerprint was impressed on documents used for business and trade (Lyman, 2011) The first known use of fingerprinting was developed by Sir William Herschel in 1858, in Bengal, India ( Lyman, 2011).

Herschel required natives to fingerprint and sign business contracts. Alphonse Bertillon developed the Bertillon system (Lyman, 2011). The Bertillon system is a system that identified specific bony parts of the human body that Alphonse claimed would never change throughout a person’s entire life span. American’s relied on this method for more than 30 years as a means of identification. In 1903, a Supreme Court case proved the system to be wrong. Michael D.

Lyman states (2011),” The value of fingerprints as a means of detecting the fallibility of the Bertillon system and establishing the value and reliability of individualized identification for criminal suspects was therefor established” (p. 109). Before fingerprinting was established, photos, witnesses, and branding were the only ways of identifying people (Lyman, 2011) Since then, identification of people has changed dramatically. There are many different patterns and characteristics of fingerprints (Lyman, 2011) Some examples include the arch loop, whorl, ulnar, central pocket, bridge, island, dot, and many others (Lyman, 2011).

Each has it’s own appearance, some people have many of these, and some have few, once again no one’s fingerprints are exactly alike (Lyman, 2011). This being the reason that fingerprinting is the only proven means of identifying a person, besides DNA. Overall, fingerprints begin as a fetus touches things in a mother’s womb (Fingerprints, 2012) The way fingerprints were started to be used was doubted at first, and then came to be the most efficient way of identification. There are many patterns and characteristics that make up a fingerprint and no two prints are the same, not even in identical twins, who share the same DNA.

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Fingerprints. (2017, Jan 15). Retrieved February 23, 2019, from
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