Encyclopedia Article


An imprint made by the ridges, crests, and arches that adorn the soft pads aon our fingertips. These imprints are created by ridges that are present on the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin) on the palm side at the tips of every person's fingers. When a person touches something, the naturally-occurring oils produced by the skin leave traces in the shape of the ridges of their skin. These imprints are unique to each person, which allows fingerprints to be used as identification during criminal investigations. Some consistent fingerprint patterns have been identified, including double loops, central pocket loops, loops, plain whorls, plain arches, and tented arches.

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"Close-up of a fingerprint" by Bra Cymet is licensed under CC BY-NC.

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