SAY, WHAT?! FINGERPRINTS- A CRAZY CONCEPT
Fingerprints are one of the only things that are truly unique about each person, biologically speaking. For reals, every single person out there, including identical siblings (more on that later), has their own set of custom-made fingerprints. They’re bespoke digital tips, if you fancy. So yes, dear, you really are a special snowflake.
WHEN ARE THEY FORMED?
Fingerprints are formed during a fetus’s time in utero. Although no exact time frame has been pinpointed, most seem to agree that formation is complete by about 6 months gestation*. (So that fetus could be identified by fingerprint for any crimes committed in utero! #dadjoke). During this time, the fetus grows from the size of a lime to the size of a turnip.
*Editor’s note: it was hard to find one trusted source to cite on this fact. In reading through lots of different articles, they all said 6 months, so that is what we are including here.
HOW ARE THEY FORMED?
Amongst the legit millions of small changes happening daily, one is that the fetus begins opening its hands and splaying its fingers.
As this happens, and the fetus begins to explore the environment around it, its tiny fingers bump up against the walls of the womb. The fetus has literally have never touched anything before and as such, the skin is as smooth as the surface of a brand new jar of creamy peanut butter.
The small touches on the side of the womb and the motion of the hands floating in the amniotic fluid create ridges that make up the fingerprint. #noway!
There are three basic patterns of fingerprints: whorl, loop, and arch. Some people have one type, others two, and others all three types. There’s a genetic component, in that some people are more predisposed to having the same pattern as their parents, ie: all loops except for the left thumb. That being said, it’s not the pattern that makes a fingerprint unique - it’s the specific angle of the arch, the rise of the whorl, the crest of the ridge, etc. That’s where the fetal development plays a role. So while mom and dad may pass down arches in their DNA, it’s the fetal movement inside the womb that makes baby’s arches uniquely theirs.
ASIDE FROM TRUE DETECTIVE WORK, ARE THEY USEFUL?
According to Scientific America, the technical term for the skin that develops as the fingerprints are formed is called friction ridge skin. FRS helps humans grip things. Imagine how hard it would be to turn the pages of a book wearing silk gloves - that’s what FRS helps us do! #whoknew?!
WHAT ABOUT TWINS?
Even the most identical of twins (or any other multiple siblings, identical or not) don’t do exactly the same thing in utero. They move around differently, touch different parts of the womb walls, and spread their fingers in different ways. Which means different fingerprints.
HOLY SHITBALLS are fingerprints COOL.
By: Kristin Freeman, Certified Sexuality Educator from OH