What Are The Different Types Or Classes Of Fingerprints?


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Before records of fingerprints were kept electronically and fingerprint detection could be done via computers, it was necessary for manual fingerprint classification systems to be in place. These manual systems were used to categorise fingerprints based on general ridge formations, and allowed for filing and retrieval of paper records based on the friction ridge patterns in fingerprints alone. The Henry Classification System was developed in India and implemented in most English-speaking countries. This is the system that is used most commonly and categories fingerprints into three basic different classes; Loop, Whorl and Arch. Other popular 10-print classification systems include the Roscher system and the Juan Vucetich system. The Roscher system was developed in German and is implemented in Germany and Japan, while the Juan Vucetich system was developed in Argentina and is used throughout South America.

The three basic fingerprint patterns within the Henry Classification System are said to categorise everybody’s fingerprints. It’s believed that 60 to 65 per cent of all fingerprints can be classed as Loop, while 30 to 35 per cent of the population have Whorl fingerprints. Just five per cent have Arch fingerprints. The classification of these fingerprints can be made even more complex as the patterns are broken down into further categories. Arches can be plain or tented. Loops may be radial or ulnar, depending on the side of the hand that the tail points towards. Whorls have a range of sub-groups that include accidental whorls, double-loop whorls and plain whorls.

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