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Why Are Your Fingerprints Unique?

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Channel: MinuteEarth
Categories: Biology   |   Science  
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Because of the chaotic way fingerprints develop and the multiplying effect of compound probability, it's basically impossible for any two fingers to have matching prints.

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To learn more, start your googling with these keywords:
Fingerprint: The markings on the skin on the last joint of the thumb or finger.
Fingerprint Ridges: The raised lines on the fingerprint.
Fingerprint Pattern: The main design in the middle of the fingerprint; usually a loop, whorl, or arch.
Volar Pad: The mass of stem cells that grows under the fingers during a particular time during fetal development that is responsible for determining the pattern of the fingerprint.
Fingerprint Minutiae: The various tiny points in each fingertip where the ridgelines get blocked or split.
Compound Probability: The likelihood that independent events will occur simultaneously.

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Credits (and Twitter handles):
Script Writer, Video Director, and Narrator: David Goldenberg (@dgoldenberg)
Video Illustrator: Arcadi Garcia & Ever Salazar
With Contributions From: Henry Reich, Alex Reich, Kate Yoshida, Peter Reich
Music by: Nathaniel Schroeder:



Kucken, M. and Newell, A. (2005). Fingerprint Formation. Journal of Theoretical Biology. 235 (71-83). Retrieved from:

Kucken, M. (2007). Models for Fingerprint Pattern Formation. Forensic Science International. 171 (85-96). Retrieved from:

Kucken, Michael (2018). Personal Communication. Center of Information Services and High Performance Computing. TU Dresden.

Wertheim, K. (2011). Fingerprint Sourcebook: Embryology and Morphology of the Friction Skin Ridge. Retrieved from:

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