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Dermatoglyphics was derived from the Greek word, “dermis” meaning skin and “glyph”meaning curving. Dermatoglyphics is the science of configuration of epidermal ridges of thevolar surfaces of the fingers, toes, palms and soles (cummins and mildo, 1961).Dermatoglyphics is the scientific study of epidermal ridge (or papillary peaks) patterns on fingers (fingerprints) and palms (palmprints). Each person has distinct and unique ridges on the fingers and palms that are genetically determined (Gutierez et al., 2012). Dermatoglyphic patterns are not influenced significantly after birth by environmental factors (Naffah, 1977).

The ridges and their characteristics as they appear on the fingers and palms are unique, permanent and remain unchanged throughout life; thus aiding in investigations of palm-finger prints for the identification of individuals (Tay, 1979). 

There are ample scientific evidences to suggest that the palm and fingerprints are closely associated with brain functions.  For instance, the development of dermatoglyphical marking of the hand occurs at the same period the brain develops from embryonic ectoderm (Hirsch and Schweighel, 1973). That is why a number of genetic diseases have left marks on both the brain and the hand. Examples of such associations are demonstrated by the presence of Simian line and Sydney creases on the palm and mental retardation in the individuals with Down syndrome, Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, Trisomy 18 (Edward’s syndrome) and Tri-somy 13 (Patau’s syndrome). These individuals have delayed development, learning difficulties and/or behavioural disorders (Bagga, 1991).

The areas of the brain (cortical) representing the face and hand are disproportionally larger compared to the other parts of the body. The digits of the hands particularly, the thumb and index finger, are well presented. Distorted presentations of the hu-man body on the cortical areas are said to correlate with peripheral innervation density. Thus the hand and the fingers have high innervation density that is said to determine the dermatoglyphic characteristics of individual (Dell and Munger, 1986).


The academic performance of a student is a product of the student’s cognitive (learning) ability (Rohde and Thompson, 2007; Leeson et al., 2008). Cognitive abilities such as memory, speech and auditory capabilities are functions of the cerebral cortex of the brain. The academic performance also indicates the level of reasoning and understanding of the individual. Therefore qualitative and quantitative assessment of the academic performance of students would directly reflect on the students intellectual brain function. Students’ academic performance at all levels of education shows stratifications (Etsey, 2005; Aguilar and Tansini, 2010; Ghazvini and Khajehpour, 2011; Mlambo, 2012). Some students perform well while others not so good; some very poorly. It is a known fact that a number of factors contribute to the academic performance of a stu-dent. Whatever the cause may be, the genotype of the mind is very crucial.


According Encycligent.com, the historical development of the dermatoglyphics can be summerised with following table

221BC-206BCQin to Eastern Hans Dynasty (221-206) BC. Chinese people were the first to use fingerprint as basis for identification on a clay seal.
617-907ADTang Dynasty. Fingerprints are uses as an deification for contracts and wills and in the army
AD1637India Shajuhi wrote letters and signed it with his handprints.
702ADJapanese people used fingerprints as a basis of people who cannot read or write.
AD1400sKhajeh Rashiduddin Fazlollah Hamadani, a Persian government physician state that no two fingerprints are alike
1684Dr. Nehemiah Grew started observing and characterizing human skin
1686Mercello Malpighi was the first to look at the skin pattern of fingertips under a microscope. A layer of the skin was named after him (Malpighi layer – stratum basale and stratum spinosum)
1788Johann Christoph Andreas Mayer was the first to write that no two fingerprints are alike.
1823Joannes Evangelistista Purkinji started to research on the protruding fingerprints on human palms and toe prints on the sole of the foot and protruding ridges of soles. He attempted to systemize it.
1880Henry Faulds and W.J. Herschel recommended in the Tokyo publication “Nature” to use fingerprints as a unique way to identify human beings using printer’s ink.
1883Dr Arthur Kollman, a German medical researcher first identify volar pads on fetus fingerprints and sole prints.
1892Sir Francis Galton pointed out that fingerprints in siblings, twins and intergeneration genetics have a commonality. This opened up the door to anthropology.
1902Harris Hawthorne Wilder established the systematic foundation of pattern studies (morphology), genetics, research on racial palm and finger prints.
1926Harold Cummins proposed “Dernatoglyphics” as the proper noun fir the study of fingerprint at the American Morphological Society. Dermatoglyphics official became a professional knowledge in the field of research.
1930Society for the Study of Physiological Pattern started the study of the five types of finger prints and their unique personality  traits (SSPP physiology society)
1950Canadian brain surgeon, Dr. Penfield pointed out that the close link and relationship between fingerprints and the brain.
1958Noel Jaquin researched and found that each fingerprint corresponds to each type of personality.
1963Solton pointed out that if chromosomal abnormality has occurred, the percentage of abnormal fingerprints would increase
1970Many claimed USSR used fingerprint to assess contestants to the Olympic games and won 50 Gold Medals.
1981Professor Roger W. Sperry and his co-researchers were awarded the Nobel Prize in Biomedicine for his research work on the left and right brain functions as well as dual-brain theory.
1985Dr. Horward Gradner’s 8 Multiple intelligences mainly; interpersonal, intrapersonal, logical mathematics, spatial, linguistics, naturalist and bodily kinethics
1991Dr. Illiam Babler, an Anthropologist working under Baylor School of Dentistry confirmed the formation of volar pads on pre-natal development
2004W.G.S.I started to use high-tech technology to capture the dermatoglyphs. With a massive data base of millions of data and strong statistical foundation, the company brought the application of dermatoglyphics to its peak.


It has been known for a long time that there is a connection between the ridge pattern and anatomical structures, called volar pads (Cummins, 1929). Volar pads are temporary eminences of the volar skin that form at about the 7th week at the fingertips (apical pads), on the distal part of the palm between the digits (interdigital pads) and in the thenar and hypothenar region (thenar and hypothenar pads). The volar pads become less prominent at around the 10th week and then disappear in human embryos. The crucial events for the establishment of the epidermal ridge pattern take place from the 10th to the 16th week of pregnancy (Babler, 1991; Bonnevie, 1927a; Gould, 1948; Hale, 1951; Hirsch, 1973; Okajima, 1975; Penrose and O’Hara, 1973; Schaeuble, 1932).

At the 10th week, embryonal volar skin consists of the layered epidermis on top of the more amorphous fibrous dermis. The innermost layer of the epidermis at the interface to the dermis is called the basal layer and consists of columnar cells whose axis is perpendicular to the skin surface. It is then observed in embryos of the 10th to 13th week that the basal layer becomes undulated. These undulations quickly become more prominent and form folds of the epidermis into the dermis. These folds are called primary ridges. They already establish the future surface pattern, which becomes established at the 16th week. Because fingerprint patterns are encoded at the interface between dermis and epidermis the pattern cannot be destroyed by superficial skin injuries.

Primary ridge formation does not occur simultaneously on the volar surface (Gould, 1948; Bonnevie, 1927a; Schaeuble, 1932). For example, ridge formation on fingers and the palm precedes ridge formation on toes and the sole. Further, ridge formation usually starts at a certain area in the middle of the volar padand along the nail furrow; a little later along the interphalangeal flexion crease.

The area of the ridge anlage usually coincides with the center of whorls and loops if such patterns show up. This way we have three ridge systems on the fingertip (starting from the ridge anlage, the nail furrow and the flexion crease), which slowly spread over the fingertip. At the locations where these ridge systems finally meet, triradii arise.

It is likely from empirical evidence that the primary ridge system changes until the 16th week, when itbecomes permanent (Hale, 1949). For example, it was observed that the number of minutiae significantly rises in that time. A possible reason for this observation could be a larger growth rate of the hand compared to the breadth of the ridges, which would lead to the insertion of new ridges (Hale, 1949).

Fig 1.1: Undulations in the basal layer appear around the 10th week, become more distinct and form the primary ridges (from Babler, 1991).

Fig1.2: (a) Ridge formation starts at one or two focal points on the middle of the pad and along the nail furrow. (b) The region where ridges arise first usually coincides with the core of loops or whorls. (c) Ridges spread over the fingertip, the last areas covered by them are the triradii. (from Bonnevie, 1927a).


Medical science has already confirmed that during the growth of the fetus within the mother’s womb from the 13th – 19th week, fingerprints are formed simultaneously with the development of the neocortex. They begin to develop in the embryo in the 13th week, and are formed by the 24th week.

Human brain has two parts (Left Brain & right Brain) and each part consists of five lobes. These ten lobes have different functionalities and these lobes are correlated with fingerprints of both hands. From the anatomical point of view, the human hands dominate all other organs in terms of relative importance. This is why the brain dedicates the majority of approximately two hundred million nerve endings to the hands. In other words, the hands are sources of physiological and psychological information waiting to be tapped, hence the increasing importance in the field of dermatoglyphics. Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is closely related to the infant’s brain development. The distribution of prints is considered to represent brain cells’ proportion and distribution in each of the brain lobes.

Alteration of dermatoglyphic patterns have been reported in several congenital conditions. A genetic disease which was first noticed because of several dermatoglyphics peculiarities was the Down syndrome. In 1939, long before the chromosomal basis of Down syndrome was established, Cummins pointed out characteristics difference in dermatoglyphic features in patients with Down syndrome compared to the normal population.


A palm print is a combination of two unique features, namely, the palmar friction ridges and the palmar flexion creases. Palmar friction ridges are the corrugated skin patterns with sweat glands but no hair or oil glands. Discontinuities in the epidermal ridge patterns are called the palmar flexion creases. These are the firmer attachment areas to the basal (dermis) skin structure. Flexion creases appear before the formation of friction ridges during the embryonic skin development stage, and both of these features cannot be mutated, they are permanent and unique to an individual (Ashbaugh, 1999).

Fig1.3 Image with illustration of the palmar flexion creases and the palmar friction ridges

The first systematic capture of hand, finger and palm images for identification purposes was done by Sir William Herschel in 1858. Galton (1965) discussed the basis of contemporary fingerprint science, and introduced the palmar ridges and creases. He suggested that the ridges on the finger tips, palms and soles are persistent and unique. Galton defined the peculiarities in the ridges as “minutiae”, introduced several different minutiae types, divided the palm into three regions and analyzed the correlation between the ridge flow and the major creases in each region. Cummins and Midlo (1943) stated that the width of a palmar ridge is 18% larger compared to a finger. They also recognized the significance of the flexion creases, particularly palmar flexion creases, and founded the basis of the present flexion crease identification.

The study of embryology has shown that the development of friction ridge skin (FRS) is related to the formation of volar pads, that is, the temporary swelling of the mesenchymal tissue. Volar pads are formed on the palm, digits and finger during the early stages (from 6th to 8th week) of fetal development. Between the 10-th and 12-th week, the volar pads start to recede and the FRS begins to appear by taking the shape of the receding volar pads. The FRS pattern originates from the deeper dermis layer (inner layer) and eventually propagates to the epidermis layer (outer layer). Consequently, minor bruises and cuts to the epidermis layer do not alter the palmar friction ridge pattern. The friction ridges are composed of ridge units with a single pore on each of these units. The shape and size of the ridge units as well as the number of ridge units and their location along a ridge are random, and thus, serve to uniquely identify an individual.

In summary, palmprints consists of;

  1. Principal lines: the heart line, the life line and the head line.
  2. Regions: finger-root (I), inside region (II) and outside region (III)
  3. Datum points: end-points across the palm and their mid-point.

Other features include;

  1. Geometry features: width of the palm, length of the palm and the area of the palm.
  2. Wrinkle features: these are lines other than the principal lines. They tend to be thinner and more irregular. They are classified as coarse wrinkles and fine wrinkles.
  3. Delta point features: these are defined as the center of a delta-like region in the palm print.
  4. Minutiae features: similar to finger print type of features


According to Galton (1892), fingerprints can be classified into 3 main groups. This pattern includes:

  1. Arches
  2. Loops
  3. Whorls

Different types of finger print patterns have been identified by the standard method set by Cummins and Midlo (1943). Four main types of finger print patterns were classified as

  1. Whorl
  2. Ulnar loop
  3. Radial loop
  4. Arch.
Image result for cummins and midlo fingerprint classification

Fig1.4 Showing different classification of fingerprint pattern.

The classification is based of curvature of the ridges. There are few ambiguous patterns, and others which are nondescript, but the former are uncommon and the latter rare. The Cummins and Midlo (1943) method of classification is the most generally acceptable and the most widely used method.

Arches are formed when the ridges run from one side to the other of the bulb of the digit without making any backward turn or twist. Loops occur when there is a single backward turn, but no twist. Whorls occur when there is a turn through at least one complete circle; they are also considered to include all duplex spirals.


  1. To determine the relationship between palmar crease and academic performance.
  2. To determine the correlation between fingerprint pattern and academic performance.
  3. To help create a population database in Ilorin metropolis and also in South-West part of Nigeria.
  4. To determine the relationship between symmetrical or asymmetrical palmar crease and academic performance.


  1. Even though dermatoglyphics is the study of pattern on palm and sole of the foot, in this study, we will only be considering the patterns on the hand
  2. Due to low participation, only 154 study are used for this study
  3. A LaserJet scanner will be used in this study as the cost of good hand scanner is too high.
  4. The sample used consist of people from different ethnic background including Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa.

The participants are of different ethnic group.