JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable.

Have a question?

We have answers!
Chat Monday-Friday, 8 AM - 5 PM (except MS state holidays)
Phone: 601-432-4492 or Toll free: 1-877-KWIK-REF (1-877-594-5733)
Text: 601-208-0868

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Pull My Fingerprint

I spent part of yesterday trying to determine whether or not John Dillinger had actually had his fingerprints removed. Are you as disgusted and enthralled as I am by the fact that he did?! He paid a doctor to cut off the fingerprints, and then to treat the fingers with first an acid and then an alkaline solution. Dillinger was "unable to use his fingers for several days." (This is a candidate for the understatement of the year.) Roscoe Pitts, a lesser known crime maven, went to even more extraordinary means to rid himself of his tell-tale prints. I will let you follow the link to read the gruesome details for yourself. The less adventuresome reader can learn more about fingerprints below!
  • Did you know that it is virtually impossible to tell a koala fingerprint from a human one? We are the only two animals with fingerprints that are specific to individuals.
  • There is method to the madness of fingerprints. Loops comprise 70% of a fingerprint's makeup, whorls 25%, and arches 5%.
  • A human fetus begins to form fingerprints 13 weeks after conception.
  • Fingerprints do not change throughout a person's lifetime.
  • Argentina was the first country to establish an official Police Fingerprint Bureau. It was started there in the early 1890's by Juan Vucetich, a native Croatian.
  • Anomalies in fingerprint patterns can be a tip-off to the presence of inherited disorders.
  • Dermatoglyphics is defined as "the science or study of skin markings or patterns, especially those of the fingers, hands, and feet." It also refers to the markings themselves.
  • The New York Civil Service Commission began the first systematic use of fingerprinting in the United States in 1902. They started fingerprinting candidates in order to deter those who used substitutes to take entrance exams.
Now that you've let your fingers do the walking through these printed nuggets (heh, heh), why don't you go treat yourself to something nice? How about a manicure? Or, better yet, why not get your palm read and have your whorls and arches deciphered? (Anyone know a good one?)
Black's Medical Dictionary. A&C Black Publishers Limited , 2006.
Blakemore, Colin and Jennett, Sheila, eds. The Oxford Companion to the Body. Oxford University Press, 2001.
Girardin, G. Russell. Dillinger The Untold Story. Indiana University Press, 1994.
The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather guide. Abington: Helicon, 2008.
Kennedy, Michael. The Oxford Dictionary of Law Enforcement. Oxford University Press, 2007.

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2004.
The New York Public Library Desk Reference. MacMillan, 1998.
World Encyclopedia. Philip's, 2008.


  1. ROSCOE PITTS! I need more information about Roscoe Pitts. The slices in his chest? The fingerprints? WHAT WHAT.

  2. Do identical twins have identical fingerprints?

  3. The Oxford Companion to the Body states that "although individual ridge patterns may be passed on through family lineage, the individual ridge details are not." They go on to say that these tiny details are not genetically determined and so twins, and even clones, would not have the exact same fingerprints.

    I am relieved to know that I cannot be pegged for the crimes of my clone!

  4. Quoting directly from The Oxford Companion to the Body:

    A notorious American criminal, Roscoe Pitts, eliminated the prints of his fingertips by having them sewn into incisions in his chest until new skin grew over the ridge pattern. But he was later identified from prints of his palm, left at the scene of a crime!

    It makes me very sad when I consider the fact that the FBI acknowledge that Pitt's prints are the most easily identifiable in their entire database. Oh, Roscoe.

  5. Wow! I have to agree with you Elisabeth. Could that be where the phrase comes from "That's the pits"?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...