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Monday, 2 February 2015


Fingerprints were used as signatures in ancient Babylon in the second millennium BC.

By 246 BC, Chinese officials were impressing their fingerprints into the clay seals used to seal documents.

The English first began using fingerprints on July 28, 1858, when on a whim Sir William Herschel, Chief Magistrate of the Hooghly district in Jungipoor, India, had Rajyadhar Konai, a local businessman, impress his hand print on a contract. The native was suitably impressed, and Herschel made a habit of requiring prints on every contract made with the locals. He later established a fingerprint register.

Exemplar prints on paper using ink

The first man to be convicted of a crime in the UK by fingerprint evidence was Harry Jackson in on September 13, 1902. He had stolen some billiard balls and left his thumbprint in wet paint on a window sill.

Cattle rustler John Walker's fingerprints were the first ones to be exchanged by police officials in Europe and America. Law enforcement units in London and St. Louis, Missouri completed the exchange on July 6, 1905.

Oskaloosa, Iowa, became the first municipality in the United States to fingerprint all of its citizens on May 21, 1934.

The first person convicted of a crime based on DNA fingerprinting evidence was Colin Pitchfork who raped and murdered two girls in November 1983, and July 1986. He was arrested on September 19, 1987, and sentenced to life imprisonment on January 22, 1988, after admitting both murders.

Prisoner being fingerprinted.

Despite sharing their genes, identical twins do not have identical fingerprints, even at birth. This is because fingerprints are not entirely a genetic characteristic and are partially determined by the interaction of an individual’s genes and the intrauterine environment.

Some people never develop fingerprints at all. Two rare genetic defects, known as Naegeli syndrome and dermatopathia pigmentosa reticularis, can leave carriers without any identifying ridges on their skin.

Workers who cut up pineapples eventually lose their fingerprints due to the action of the proteolytic enzyme, bromelain, that dissolves them.

Cops will often touch the tail light of a car that they just pulled over in order to leave their finger print in case it is later needed for evidence.

A fetus doesn't develop fingerprints three months of gestation.

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