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** Lasting Impression: How Fingerprints are Created **

Robert Roy Britt
Date: 02 November 2004 Time: 04:00 AM ET

Criminal behavior is often blamed on childhood events. But the ability to
catch a thief is rooted in development that occurs in the womb.

By the 17^th week of pregnancy, the fingerprints of a fetus are set in
stone, observations show. The uniqueness of fingerprints has been
recognized for some two millennia and studied scientifically for two
centuries. But researchers have not been able to explain how they form.

A new theoretical computer model describes how the patterns are likely
created, beginning in the 10^th week of gestation, when a fetus is about 3
inches (80 mm) long.


Early signs of stress


Fingerprints involve three distinct features: arches, loops and whorls.

Michael K?cken and Alan Newell of the University of Arizona found that
creation of the patterns involves stresses in a sandwiched sheet of skin
called the basal layer. In a fetus, the basal layer grows faster than
surrounding layers -- the epidermis on the outside and the inner dermis.
The basal layer buckles and folds in several directions, forcing complex

Stresses are created at skin boundaries, including fingernails and knuckle
creases, as well as around shrinking fingertip pads, K?cken and Newell
report in an October issue of the journal /Europhysics Letters/.

"These folds encode the future fingerprint pattern that becomes visible on
the skin surface in subsequent weeks," K?cken told /LiveScience/. "Because
the fingerprint pattern is coded underneath the skin surface, the pattern
cannot be destroyed by superficial skin injuries."

Exactly, how the pattern is preserved during growth of


when are fingerprints formed

Fingerprint - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


** Fingerprint **

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about human fingerprints. For other uses, see Fingerprint
"Thumbprint" redirects here. For other uses, see Thumbprint

This article *may be too long to read and navigate comfortably*. Please
consider splitting content into sub-articles and/or condensing it. /(August

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A *fingerprint* in its narrow sense is an impression left by the friction
ridges of a human finger.^[1] In a wider use of the term, fingerprints are
the traces of an impression from the friction ridges of any part of a


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