Experiment 5 Acquiring and Classifying Inked and Latent Fingerprints
The friction ridges covering the tips of our fingers, the surfaces comprising the palms of our hands, and the outer surfaces of the soles of our feet and toes are formed during gestation. These ridges are fully developed at the time of birth. The patterns formed by these ridges are known to stay the same throughout one’s life. In addition, it is believed that no two people have the same or identical fingerprints. Consequently, the ridge patterns present on our fingers, palms, soles, and toes have been used for identifying human beings for more than a century. It is believed that the variables in the ridge characteristics and patterns make it statistically certain that no two individuals alive will have identical prints. This idea is so ingrained in our collective psyche and culture that the sole patterns of all newborn infants’ feet are inked and recorded in the delivery room by one of the delivery room nurses minutes after birth.