Personal Identification Definition of Terms
Accidental whorl - relatively rare pattern having 3 or more deltas or all the characteristics of two or more different pattern types (excluding the plain arch). This category is used to accommodate those patterns that do not conform to any of the fingerprint patterns.
Adhesive lifter - any of a variety of adhesive coated materials or tapes used to lift fingerprints or footwear impressions.They are primarily used to lift powdered impressions from non-pourous surfaces.
AFIS - (automated fingerprint identification system) enables computers to make rapid and accurate comparisons between fingerprints and the vast number of fingerprints in police records.
Alternate light source - equipment used to produce visible and invisible light at various wavelengths to enhance or visualize potential items of evidence.
Angle - results from two or more ridges converging with one another at a point.
Anthropometry - method of identification devised by Alphonse Bertillon in the late 19th century,consisting of a set of body measurements thought to form a unique profile.
Arch - the ridges enter from one side of the finger,rise in the center forming an arc and then exit the other side of the finger.
Argentina - became the first country to rely solely on fingerprints as a method of individualization.
Bartillonage - a method of classifying human beings by a set of detailed body measurements, invented by Alphonse Bertillon, a clerk in the French Surete in 1883 but rendered obsolete by fingerprinting.
Bifurcation - (fork) a single ridge splitting or forking into two branches.
Biometrics - refers to the identification of humans by their physiological/behavioral characteristics.
Bridges - a connecting friction ridge between parallel running ridges generally right angles.
Central pocket loop - a variation of the plain whorl pattern.Some ridges tend to form a loop pattern that recurves and surround a whorl at the center.
Core - A u-turn in the ridge pattern.Approximate center of the pattern area.
Cross over/Bridge - a short ridge that runs between two parallel ridges.
Cyanoacrylate fuming - important method for the visualization of latent fingerprints.Also called "super glue fuming".
Delta - the nearest point nearest the typeline divergence,a characteristic junction in the looped ridge pattern seen in the fingerprints of approximately 65% of people.The outer terminal point of the pattern nearest the type line divergence.A Y-shape ridge meeting.
Dental records - a standard system for classifying a persons teeth according to distribution,displacement, and their appearance together with any gaps or evidence of remedial work; useful for identifying bodies because of the virtual indestructibility of the teeth.
Dermis - the layer of the skin just below the epidermis or outer layer.The dermis has a rich supply of blood vessels,nerves, and skin structures.
Divergence - is the spreading a part of two ridges that have been running parallel or nearly parallel.
Diverging ridges - diverging ridges are parallel for some distance but then swing out away from each other.
DNA profile - consists of a set of DNA identification characteristics that permit the DNA of one person to be distinguishable from that of another person.
Dot - a very short ridge and means exactly what the word implies.
Double loop - (twinned loop) another type of whorl.In it ,two separate loop formations are present and may surround each other.
Enclosure,ridge - a single ridge that bifurcates and reunites shortly afterwards to continue as a single ridge.also known as lakes.
Enhance - to develop or to bring out from a latent form.
Enlargement - a print made from a smaller negative or slide through magnification.
Epidermis - the outermost non vascular covering of the skin.
Femur - the thighbone which can be measured and used as a guide to the height of the person to whom it belong.
Fingerprint pattern type - formed by a series of lines corresponding to ridges (hills) and grooves (valleys) on the skin of the fingertip.There are eight basic types of fingerprint patterns.
Fingerprint powder - a powder (silver,gray,black,red, or fluorescent) dusted on a latent print with a brush to enhance or bring out the ridge details of a print.
Fingerprint recognition/Fingerprint identification - refers to the automated method of verifying a match between two human fingerprints.
Focal point - are found within most pattern areas, usually a delta and core.
Forensic odontology - the study of teeth,dentures,and bite marks for the purpose of obtaining criminal evidence or identifying physical remains or the source of the bite wounds.
Friction ridge skin - skin on the soles of the feet,palms of the hands, and fingers of humans ans some primates that form ridges and valleys.Friction ridge skin forms classifiable patterns on the end joint of the finger.
Horizontal plane - is the ridge directly below an up thrusting or angular ridge in tented arch pattern,the baseline ridge enters the pattern may rise slightly and exits on the opposite side from which it enters.
Identikit - the first packaged system for reconstructing the appearance of a suspects face based on a wide choice of drawings of facial features.
Iodine fumes - the oldest method for visualizing latent fingerprints at a crime scene.
Island - a single small ridge inside a short ridge or ridge ending that is not connected to all other ridges.
Langer's lines - structural orientation of the fibrous tissue of the skin that forms the natural cleavage line present in all body areas but visible only in certain areas such as the creases of the palms.
Latent print - generally used to describe any type of print found at the scene of a crime or on evidence associated with a crime.Latent prints are normally not visible.Some means of development is generally required for their visualization.
Line of flow - imaginary line between the delta and core in the loop and whorl patterns.Line of flow is used to determine sufficient recurve in patterns.
Loop - the ridges enter from one side of a finger,form a curve and then exit on the same side.
Major criminal prints - a recording of all of the friction ridge skin that covers the hands.Major criminal prints include fingers,palms,tips of the fingers and middle joints of the finger on both sides.
Minutiae - the characteristics that make each fingerprint capable of being differentiated from any other print by a different area of friction skin.Comparison of latent prints with known prints begins with the overall pattern.The ridge detail of fingerprints including the ends of the ridges,their separations, and their relationships to one another constitute the bases for fingerprint comparison.
Palmar zone - the elevated area just behind the fingers and above the center of the palm.This zone has no hair follicles and thus, no apocrine or sebaceous glands.
Pattern area - is that part of the fingerprint impression used in the interpretation and classification of a finger.Is that part of a loop or whorl in which appear the core,delta, and ridge.
Plain arch - the simplest pattern.The ridges enter on one side,rise to form a wave in the center and exit smoothly on the opposite side.
Plain whorl - a pattern in which one or more ridges form a complete revolution around the center.Whorls generally have two or more deltas.
Plantar - pertaining to the sole of the foot.
Radial loop - a loop formed as part of a fingerprint pattern that opens toward the thumb, recurve and then exit on the same side
Ridge count - is the number of ridges intervening between the delta and the core.
Ridge crossing - a point where two ridge units intersect.
Ridge ending - the point of the ridge's termination.It is considered an ending ridge only if it terminates within the pattern area.
Rojas murder case - considered the first homicide solved by fingerprint evidence.
Short ridge - a relative term used to denote a ridge that is not as long as the average ridge in that specific print.
Spur - a bifurcation with a short ridge branching off a longer ridge.also known as hooks.
Tented arch - variation of the plain arch.Ridges at the center are thrust upward in a more abrupt manner similar to the appearance of a tent pole.
Tibia - the shin bone, often used as guide for calculating a persons height.
Tracings - are used to breakdown whorl patterns into smaller sub-groupings.
Trifurcation - one single ridge splitting into three-pronged fork-shaped pattern.
Typelines - the two innermost ridges that surround or tend to surround the pattern area.The pattern area of a loop surrounded by two diverging ridges.
Ulnar loop - a pattern in which one or more ridges enter on the side toward the little finger, re-curve and then exit toward the same side.
Visible print - sometimes referred to as a patent print.Made by fingers stained with colored materials such as blood,ink,paint,grease, or dirt.
Whorls - fingerprint pattern where the ridges turn through at least one complete circuit.Ridges form circularly around a central point of the finger.
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