Why do we have fingerprints ? A Mystery !

You must have seen a lot of movies where a criminal is caught due to his fingerprint on a murder weapon. But have you ever thought that why do we have fingerprints and why are they so different in every person. We have developed several theories about fingerprints, but we don't really know why we have them. However today all of us use them to unlock our smartphones, but we don't know exact reason of their creation.

Location of Fingerprint

Your fingerprint is printed on any object you touch but it is actually located below the epidermis, the outermost layer of your skin. Fingerprint patterns are actually located on basal cell layer which is located between epidermis and dermis. What we get from outside is the projection of the inner basal cell layer through epidermis. So even if the epidermis is damaged due to any reason, you fingerprint will remain intact and epidermis will regrow out of basal cell layer.

When and how are your fingerprint created ?

Your fingerprint are created inside your mother's womb. The are created between the 4th to 7th month. During this time the basal cell layer grows faster than the epidermis and dermis layers. As the basal cell layer lies between these two layers and has no place to grow, it starts to form folds and variety of patterns are developed which are different in every individual. 

Can your fingerprints change with age ?

Our fingerprints get enlarged with age, but the pattern remains same. Ageing and old age reduces the elasticity of skin which disturbs the pattern only to very little extent. 

Why do twins don't have same fingerprint ?

Most of us think that our fingerprint are connected to our DNA, while it is not so. Even identical twins don't have same fingerprint, they don't even have 100% same DNA (we will cover this topic in our next post). Making of fingerprint is totally an external factor. Formation of folds in basal cell layer causes formation of fingerprints. Pressures exerting on our skin at that time depends on our position in womb, position of hand/feet and various other factors. Even twins can't have same position and other circumstances, so their fingerprints will be different.

How can a person have no fingerprints ?

It can happen in two conditions. First is the damage to skin. Small damage that occur at the level of epidermis can't erase our fingerprint, as it lies beneath it. But if the damage is too deep and dermis is also damaged then our fingerprint might get erased. Several criminals have tried to make an unsuccessful attempt to erase their fingerprints from their own fingers to escape from a crime investigation.

Second condition where a person don't have fingerprints is a genetic condition. Mutation in the gene SMARCAD1, also known as adermatoglyphia can cause completely plain fingertips with no patterns on them.

Now, if you are thinking that such people can easily commit a crime and never get caught then you should stop watching too many movies, as fingerprints are not the only evidence that makes a criminal a criminal. Along with other evidences, today our advanced forensic science have developed a technique where they can identify the bacterial signature of a person, which is just like pheromones and we leave that signature on everything that we touch.

Why do we have fingerprints ?

The exact answer is, We Don't Know ! From past one century we are believing that it increases friction in our hand and makes our grip stronger, but some recent researches have shown that creation of fingerprints neither increase the friction, nor it makes our grip stronger. More research is needed to know the exact reason behind formation of these patterns. Till the science find an answer to this question, you should assured that God has given you an inbuilt signature that can be utilized by person of any age group irrespective of the literacy level. 

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