Name: Larry Z.
Questions on finger prints:
Assuming that the population of the earth is 5.6 billion, and each person
has 10 fingers. If only about 70 million have ever been finger printed,
is that, mathematically speaking, really a large enough sampling to make
the statement "NO TWO FINGER PRINTS ARE THE SAME", with absolution?
Let us speak a little about fingerprints...There are 3 basic fingerprints
patterns that are called Loops,Arches and Whorls and everyone falls
into one of these patterns. Beside this, within these patterns are what
we call minutia points. There are about thirty different types of these
minutae points and never were found 2 people with the same minutae
in the same number and in the same places on their fingertips. They are
formed genetically before each person is born, and never change through
his (her) lifetime, being formed underneath the skin in a layer called
dermal papilae. So since fingertips consist of a complex combination
of very specific patterns, where size, location and number are also
variables, it is possible to affirm that they are unique, so there are no
fingerprints equal, even in genetic twins.
Of course that is an affirmation based on statistics and no one has ever
collected and compared all the fingerprints of all the humans from the
beginning of humanity and also up to the extinction of this Homo Sapiens
However nowadays there are other methods for a unique discrimination
of a human, as DNA, and the iris pattern analysis.
But the main problem found by the scientists that exam fingerprints toward
a unique identification is mainly the difficulty in collecting and
fingerprints patterns usually for identification of criminals. There could
easily happen errors that could led to wrong identifications.
Thanks for the quite interesting question!
(Dr. Mabel Rodrigues)
I suggest you read the works of the mathematician Karl Popper...(spelling
unsure) who had very sound arguments along that line. Inductive logic...how
about...all stars of a certain mass will become red giants...there are
trillions of stars?
Peter Faletra Ph.D.
Office of Science
Department of Energy
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Update: June 2012