If you press your thumb on an ink-pad and then on a sheet of white paper, you will have a print which no one else in the whole world can make! The same would be true of each of your fingers. Your ten fingerprints are absolutely unique, and they remain practically unchanged from birth to death!
Nature has simply created a different pattern for the ridges of the skin on every single human finger. This fact was probably first discovered by the Chinese more than 2,000 years ago. At that time, Chinese emperors were signing important documents with their thumbprints.
In 1892, an English scientist named Sir Francis Galton was the first to prove that no twO fiEgerprints were alike. And in 1901, Scotland Yard adopted a system for identifying criminals by their fingerprints that was developed by Sir Edward Henry. This system, with a few changes, is used by police departments all over the world today.
Here is how Sir Henry worked out his system. All fingerprints were divided into “types” of patterns: loops, central pocket loops, double loops, arches, tended arches, whorls, and accidentals. By counting the ridges between two points in the pattern, each of the ten fingers could be classified into a certain group. Then you take all the groups together as a unit, and you have a complete system of classifying fingerprints.
It works so well that fingerprints can be filed away by these groups, instead of by the name or description of the criminal. And even though millions of prints may be on file in an office, the right one can be picked out in just a few minutes!
Can Fingerprints Be Similar?
Fingerprints help identify people because each person’s fingerprints are unique, but people can have similar fingerprint patterns.