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Skin facts worth knowing. Part 2

Posted by Melinda Fick on

They have been with you from before you were born. You may not give them any thought, but how much do you know about your fingerprints?

  • Fingerprints are formed in the womb. During the second trimester of pregnancy, the middle layer of skin begins to grow faster than the outer and inner layers. This causes the skin of the finger pads to fold and buckle.

  • Other factors that are responsible for the formation of fingerprints include the movements of the foetus, their position in the womb and the density of the amniotic fluid.

  • They will be fully formed by the time a foetus is 6 months old.

  • They are made up of friction ridges.

  • The patterns formed by these ridges are called loops, whorls and arches.

  • These ridges have pores which are connected to sweat glands. You leave prints because of this sweat.

  • Your fingerprints are unique to you; no 2 people's are the same.

  • Even your left hand and right hand fingerprints are different.

  • Identical twins share the same DNA, but not the same fingerprints.

  • Under normal circumstances they will never change, not even as we age.

  • A minor burn, a scrape or cut will affect your fingerprints. You can also lose your prints through abrasion and certain skin conditions. However; this is temporary. As the skin heals; the new skin will re-form in its original pattern.

  • Deep 2nd or 3rd degree burns damage the dermis layer of the skin and this can destroy your fingerprints. In a case like this; scar tissue will form in their place.

  • Some chemotherapy drugs can erode and even erase fingerprints.

  • Some people are born without fingerprints. This is caused by genetic conditions like adermatoglyphia.

  • Scientists are now studying fingerprint patterns and their possible links to disease prediction. This is known as "Dermatoglyphics".

  • In the animal world; gorillas, chimpanzees and koalas also have unique fingerprints. Koalas have fingerprints that are so similar to that of humans, that even experts find it difficult to tell them apart.

So, maybe the koala next door did it?!


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