Why do We Have Fingerprints?

I pondered this question while reading earlier today, and I was inspired to do a little research.

In the history of the world, there have never ever been two people with the same fingerprints. Fingerprints are more unique than DNA. Just like snowflakes, every fingerprint is completely different. Although I already knew this, it struck me as a wondrous thing.

Fingerprints are used for biometrics, or human identification, but why do we have them in the first place? Some research shows that they are most probably used to aid in gripping and tactile sensations. These little wrinkles are created in the womb instead of being the result of aging and oxidative damage. Fingers and toes are the only areas on the body where these “prints” are formed. We regularly use our fingers and toes to grip and feel, so could this be their primary purpose? Other research suggests that they are helpful in providing a little extra cushion for our fingers and toes when they come in contact with hard or harsh surfaces. Either way, scientists are pretty sure that they are little helpers for our nervous system, aiding in sensation.

The fact that each fingerprint is completely unique still baffles scientists. I guess nature still has some wonderful mysteries left…

For more information on how fingerprints are formed and how they are used, read this great article:
How Fingerprinting Works

These two articles explain the research behind using fingerprints for the sense of touch:
Get a Grip: Truth About Fingerprints Revealed
Why Do We Have Fingerprints?

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