Dermatoglyphics (from ancient Greek derma = "skin", glyph = "carving") is the scientific study of fingerprints. The term was coined by Dr. Harold Cummins, the father of American fingerprint analysis, even though the process of fingerprint identification had already been in use for several hundred years.

Since 1920s, Dermatoglyphics has been studied in the medical field, especially in relation to genetically-linked diseases. The study has absolute scientific basis, with 200 years of research. It has been analyzed and proven with evidence in anthropology, genetics, medicine and statistics.

Research & Studies

  • 1684

    Dr. Nehemiah Grew (1641-1712)

    Presented Finger Prints, Palms and Soles An Introduction To Dermatoglyphics to the Royal Society.

  • 1685

    Dr. Bidloo

    Published an anatomical atlas, Anatomia Humani Corporis, with illustrations showing the human figure both in living attitudes and as dissected cadavers.

  • 1686

    Dr. Marcello Malphigi (1628-1694)

    Noted in his treatise; ridges, spirals and loops in fingerprints.

  • 1788


    J.C. Mayer was the first to write out basic tenets of fingerprint analysis and theorized that fingerprints were unique 1823.

  • 1823

    Dr. Joannes Evangelista Purkinje

    Purkinje found that the patterns on one's finger tips and the ridges and lines on one's prints begin to form at around thirteenth week in the womb. He classified the papillary lines on the fingertips into nine types: arch, tented arch, ulnar loop, radial loop, peacock's eye/compound, spiral whorl, elliptical whorl, circular whorl, and double loop/composite

  • 1832

    Dr. Charles Bell (1774-1842)

    Was one of the first physicians to combine the scientific study of neuroanatomy with clinical practice. He published The Hand: Its Mechanism and Vital Endowments as Evincing Design.

  • 1893

    Dr. Francis Galton

    Published his book, "Fingerprints", establishing the individuality and permanence of fingerprints. The book included the first classification system for fingerprints: Arch, Loop, and Whorl.

  • 1897

    Harris Hawthorne Wilder

    Was the first American to study dermatoglyphics. He invented the Main Line Index, studied thenar hypothenar eminences, zones II, III, IV.

  • 1926

    Dr. Harold Cummins & Dr. Charles Midlo Coined

    The term "dermatoglyphics". They showed that the hand contained significant dermatoglyphic configurations that would assist in the identification of mongolism in the new-born child.

  • 1936

    Dr. Harold Cummins & Dr. Charles Midlo

    Also researched the embryo-genesis of skin ridge patterns and established that the fingerprint patterns actually develop in the womb and are fully formed by the fourth fetal month.

  • 1957

    Dr. Walker

    Used the dermal configurations in the diagnosis of mongolism

  • 1969

    John J. Mulvihill, MD and David W. Smith, MD Published

    The Genesis of Dermatoglyphics that provides the most up to date version of how fingerprints form.