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Jakarta Post

Behind the science of fingerprints

Jakarta   /   Thu, December 18 2008   /  11:17 am

Thousands of scientific studies on fingerprints have been done over the years, but they have received little media attention, probably due to the public's association with palmistry and fortune telling rather than as an object of scientific interest. Harold Cummins (1893-1976) coined the term "dermatoglyphics" for the scientific study of fingerprints and is derived from an ancient Greek term which means "skin carving". Cummins achieved world recognition as the "Father of Dermatoglyphics". The findings of a lifetime of study and technique development, known as the Cummins Methodology, are accepted as important tools in tracing genetic and evolutionary relationships. The methodology is commonly used to diagnose some types of mental retardation, schizophrenia, cleft palate and even heart disease. A more recent trend is to lo...