Sets of fingerprints

Sets of fingerprints

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Sets of fingerprints, artwork from Dr Henry Faulds's Guide to Finger-print Identification, 1905. Faulds, a Scottish scientist, was an early developer of fingerprint analysis. Convinced that the patterns of ridges on fingertips were unique, he set about trying to develop a system of analysis. Shown here are prints from five individuals (a, b, c, d and e), made with (from left to right) the thumb, fore, middle and ring fingers of the right hand. Faulds describes them as 'Good smudges, done without supervision or training.' Faulds believed the entire set of ten prints was needed to make an identification, which is one reason why his system of analysis was never used by the courts.

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