Dating fingerprint cases
A forensic expert explains other ways people can lose--intentionally and unintentionally--one of their unique identifiers’s free newsletters."data-newsletterpromo-image="https://static.scientificamerican.com/sciam/cache/file/458BF87F-514B-44EE-B87F5D531772CF83_source.png"data-newsletterpromo-button-text="Sign Up"data-newsletterpromo-button-link="https://
The most prominent of those problems involve bricklayers—who wear down ridges on their prints handling heavy, rough materials frequently—or people who work with lime [calcium oxide], because it's really basic and dissolves the top layers of the skin. And, surprisingly, secretaries, because they deal with paper all day.
The constant handling of paper tends to wear down the ridge detail.
But cases such as this point out that you actually need fingerprints for identification. During the first trimester, the fingerprints have already established their permanence and uniqueness.
So how effective are current scanners, and how else have people—accidentally or intentionally—altered their fingerprints? Aside from forensics and travel, what else are fingerprint scans being used for these days?
Ultrasound devices go beyond just the outer layer and capture part of the root system.
The first case of documented fingerprint mutilation was in 1934, by Theodore "Handsome Jack" Klutis, who led a gang called the College Kidnappers.
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