Fingerprint Basics


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Fingerprint ridges are formed during the third to fourth month of fetal development. The ridges begin to develop on the skin of the thumbs and fingers.

The purpose of these ridges is to give the fingers a firmer grasp and to avoid slippage. These ridges allow the fingers to grasp and pick up objects.

      The friction ridges on the fingers arrange themselves in more or less regular patterns with ridge characteristics. All fingerprints have a unique combination and arrangement of patterns and ridge characteristics. These patterns of friction ridges contain rows of sweat pores that allow sweat and or oil to exit from glands. Sweat mixed with other body oils and dirt produces fingerprints on smooth surfaces.

Fingerprints are left by the transfer of oils or amino acids to a surface, from the transfer of substances on the fingers like paint or blood or by leaving an impression print in a soft substance.

No two prints have ever been found to be exactly alike. Even those of identical twins are different. Fingerprints are not inherited. The general pattern may be the same in families but the level 2 and 3 details will differ. After formation, the growing fingerprint ridges expand uniformly in all directions while growth is occurring so the pattern never changes.

Finger prints can not be altered without creating a new unique fingerprint. Even when the skin tissue is injured, the skin that grows back will have the same print.

      Prints remain the same throughout life. The prints that someone is born with won’t change until decomposition after death.

Types of Fingerprints
Fingerprint Patterns
Ridge Characteristics
Developing Powders
Developing Reagents
Developing Reagent Details
Lifting Techniques
Fingerprint Identification
Unusual Fingerprints
History of Fingerprinting
Body Prints
Animal Fingerprints
DNA Fingerprinting
Trace Evidence
Forensic Science
Jobs Involving Fingerprinting