Fingerprints or dermatoglyphics are the visible or moulded impressions produced by the contact of the papillary crests of a finger on a surface, that is, the mark that we leave when putting a finger in an area.

It is scientifically proven that the drawings that appear visible in the epidermis, called dactylograms, are perennial, immutable, unique and original.

  • Perennial: are formed in the sixth month of intrauterine life, and are invariable in number, situation, form and direction throughout life.
  • Immutable: as the papillary ridges do not change physiologically; they regenerate if there is a superficial trauma, or in the case of a deep wound, the appearance of a scar pattern.
  • Unique: since there are no two identical fingerprints produced by different fingers.
  • Original: all the contacts of the drawings of the ridges and grooves of the epidermis produce original impressions with identifiable microscopic characteristics.


The use of fingerprints was studied for the first time by Francis Galton in 1892 in his book Fingerprints. At this time the invariability of the fingerprints throughout the life of a person was verified, as well as the distinctive character of them even in identical twins. In this study Galton determined some characteristics of the traces that we still use today for their classification.

In the beginning, a hundred fingerprint traits were determined, which were classified into four large groups, later on the method was simplify to four main features: arches, internal loops, external loops and whorls.

Currently in Spain, at least 12 characteristic points are searched for when comparing 2 fingerprints, although obtaining 8 of those points has already legal validity.

So unique are the traces of each individual that scientific articles have been reporting for years that even the communities of bacteria that house the skin are different in each individual, which is why analyze the bacteria of the fingerprints of a person for forensic identification purposes has been proposed.

Currently, the use of fingerprints and the use of other biometric systems, such as face scanner for controlling access and presence of people in companies and administrations, or the verification of access and online procedures, has been extended thanks to those unique characteristics that impede identity theft.