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Name: Mike I.
Status: Other
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2002


Question:
It is a known fact that Fingerprints are the Number two source of identification second only to DNA. I have read that fingerprints can survive Burn and Scaring. How can this be true? The definition of a scar is a fibrous connective tissue that forms at the site of injury or disease in any tissue of the body. Scar tissue may replace injured skin and underlying muscle, damaged heart muscle, or diseased areas of internal organs such as the liver. Dense and thick, it is usually paler than the surrounding tissue because it is poorly supplied with blood, and although it structurally replaces destroyed tissue, it cannot perform the functions of the missing tissue. If this definition stands true How can anyone say that Fingerprints are Unique for all individuals?



Replies:
You raise two points: 1. A burn scar is hardly likely to be identical on any two people, and the pattern that skin oil would leave, even if there are no pores in the scarred area should be unique. 2. Although I, like you, have heard that fingerprints are unique I have never seen any actual data on the matter. If a finger print is analyzed by only matching a few characteristic patterns that are a subset of the entire print, rather than the entire print, it would seem possible, maybe unlikely but possible, that two people might have indistinguishable matches of the areas sampled.

Interesting point you raise.

Vince Calder


I just did a quick search on "fingerprints uniqueness" on www.google.com and found the following PhD thesis which is interesting and addresses the issue you raised:

http://www.cis.rit.edu/research/thesis/bs/1999/chang/thesis.html#2.1

As technology progresses, I suspect that DNA matching of fingerprint residues, may replace, or certainly be a useful adjunct to the pattern recognition.

Vince Calder



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