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Dermatoglyphics

Dermatoglyphics(from ancient Greek derma = "skin", glyph = "carving") is the scientific study of fingerprints and can be traced back to 1892 when one of the most original biologists of his time, Sir Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, published his now classic work on fingerprints. The study was later termed Dermatoglyphics by Dr. Harold Cummins, the father of American fingerprint analysis, even though the process of fingerprint identification had already been in use for several hundred years.[1] All primates have ridged skin. It can also be found on the paws of certain mammals, and on the tails of some monkey species. In humans and animals, dermatoglyphs are present on fingers, palms, toes and soles. This helps shed light on a critical period of embryogenesis, between four weeks and five months, when the architecture of the major organ systems is developing.


The word dermatoglyphics comes from two Greek words (derma, skin and glyphe, carve) and refers to the friction ridge formations which appear on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Characteristically, hair does not grow from this area. The ridging formations serve well to enhance contact, an area of multiple nerve endings (Dermal Papillae) and aids in the prevention of slippage. People of African ancestry display reduced skin pigmentation in the designated locations. All studies of the dermal ridge arrangements are classified under the term dermatoglyphics. The summary thus is:-



  • 1. Derived from ancient Greek words Derma = "skin", glyph = "carving"
  • 2. Scientific study of fingerprints since 1892
  • 3. Termed thus by Dr Harold Cummins, the father of American fingerprint analysis
  • 4. Usually formed at the 13th to 19th week of an embryo
  • 5. Revealed 6 months after birth, is unique and will never change
  • 6. There are 3 main types viz. Whorl, Arch and Loop and 11 fingerprint variants
  • 7. Closely related to an infant’s brain development
  • 8. Different regions of our brain are reflected and linked to our 10 fingerprints
  • 9. It is unique, differs from finger to finger, and will never change