Apr 11, 2011

Why Fingerprints?

So I have been doing lots of research into fingerprints and how they form and I came across some interesting information that I thought I would post. 

Fingerprints are all about friction, which is a force that resists motion.  As animals that use our hands a lot to grip all sorts of objects, the little ridges on your palms, fingers and feet help you to grip on to surfaces.  If you did not have fingerprints you would have a very hard time holding on to that glass of beer as you went for a drink, because your fingers would be smooth and have a very small coefficient of static (no motion) friction.  

As far as animals that have fingerprints, all primates have fingerprints and toe prints, and some even have tail prints where their tail has grooves to grip on to things.  One interesting fact however is that koala bears (actually marsupials), also have fingerprints.  

Quick little quiz.  Look at the fingerprints below and guess what species they belong to.  There are three options, Human, Chimpanzee, and Koala. The answer is in the comments, don’t cheat and post how you did! 
 Be on the lookout for my next post that describes how and when fingerprints are formed!


  1. Answer to above Quiz:


  2. Fingerprint #1 totally looks human! Are you sure that one isn't the human one? I got the chimp one right, though! Lucky guess, probably. I'm interested in learning when they develop, so I will be checking back!

  3. I have to admit I was doubtful that was a koala fingerprint, especially since they are not even primates! But I looked into it and it's true that koalas have very similar fingerprints to humans. Crazy!