Development of fingerprints

The system of identification using fingerprints is based on the fact that no two individuals have the same finger, palm or foot prints and rests upon three fundamentals - formation, uniqueness and persistence.

Formation

Fingerprints develop early in foetal life before birth. Pads (bumps) form on the babies' fingers and palms between 6 and 13 weeks of its life. Where these bumps occur, how the baby moves around inside the womb and how fast and big the baby grows all effect how the fingerprint patterns and ridges form and ensure the unique properties of fingerprints are never duplicated.

Uniqueness

The details of a person's prints are unique to them and only them. Even IDENTICAL TWINS do not have identical fingerprints.

Persistence

A person's fingerprints will remain the same throughout their life. If superficial damage occurs the skin will grow back in exactly the same arrangement as at birth. This is why fingerprints are a reliable means of identification at all stages of a person's life. They are even one of the last features to decompose after death.