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Do we have the same fingerprints on each finger or are they different?
Question Date: 2003-01-15
Answer 1:

Fingerprints first form before we are even born. Their shape is dependent partly on genetics, and partly on random patterning processes. Because they are partly determined by random development, no two are alike-- not even on one hand! The answer to your question, then, is that we do not have the same fingerprint on each finger.

This can make things difficult for police who are trying to solve a crime. When they find fingerprints at a crime scene, they often need to figure out which finger left each print so that they don't have to look at all ten fingerprints for each suspect. The police have experts who are very good at doing this, though.

Look at your own fingertips under a magnifying glass. Pick one of your fingers, and carefully examine the pattern of the fingerprint. Try to find one distinctive mark or shape that's easy to remember, like a particular loop or whorl. Now look at the fingerprint from a different finger. If you compare them, you will probably see that although they might be similar, they are not identical! This is why fingerprints are such a good way of identifying people. Nobody has the same fingerprints you do-- and even each of your fingers is unique!



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