What can Your Fingerprint
reveal about Your Sexe?

Fingerprints have been listed for a long time in a lengthy list of constitutional differences between males and females. These sexe differences typically manifest in three aspects of the fingerprints: 1) 'pattern type', 2) 'ridge breadth', and 3) 'minutiae'.

- Ad 1 Sexe differences in 'pattern type' -

In time studies around the world revealed that usually two typical sexe differences can be observed regarding the occurence of the 4 major fingerprint pattern types. First of all: arches are typically more common in females; and secondly: whorls are more common in males.

Cummins & Midlo (1943) also presented in their work an overview of studies 16 populations around the world (see the figure below):
- arches were more common in females in 87.5% of the populations (14 out 16 studies);
- whorls were more common in males in 65.6% of the populations (10.5 out of 16 studies).

Sexe differences in fingerprint pattern type: males versus females.

And more recent studies have revealed the same tendencies among e.g. Americans, Britains, Chinese, Iranians & Nigerians; in all 5 populations arches are more common among females, and in 4 out of 5 populations whorls are more common among males - see the picture below ('click' on the picture for a high resolution image).

Sexe differences in fingerprint pattern type: males versus females.

- Ad 2 Sexe differences in 'ridge breadth' -

Ridge breadth is typically higher in males (compared to females). The average ridge width (considering all fingerprint zones and palmar areas) in young males is about 20.7 ridges per centimeter, in young females the average is about 23.4: see the picture below (taken from: 'Finger Prints, Palms and Soles', Cummins & Midlo, 1943).

NOTICE: The sexe difference in (fingerprint) 'ridge breadth' is relatively about twice as high as the typical sexe difference seen for 'body height'!

Sexe differences in dermatoglyphic ridge breadth: males versus females.

- Ad 3 Sexe differences in 'minutiae' -

In 2010 a Thai study revealed that ridge irregulaties (e.g. ridge dots, short ridges, ridge spurs) are generally more common in the fingerprints of males (compared to females).

Bifurcations are seen in all subjects (all males & all females).

NOTE: The study of the so-called 'minutiae' involves friction ridge skin variations that can manifest as e.g.:

- Core shape: a U-turn in the ridge pattern;
- Ridge ending: the abrupt end of a ridge;
- Short ridge, or independent ridge: a ridge that commences, travels a short distance and then ends
- Ridge bifurcation (fork): a single ridge that divides into two ridges
- Delta shape: a Y-shaped ridge meeting (triradius);
- Hook (or spur): a bifurcation with a short ridge branching off a longer ridge
- Eye
- Island: a single small ridge inside a short ridge or ridge ending that is not connected to all other ridges
- Crossover or bridge: a short ridge that runs between two parallel ridges
- Bridge
- Ridge enclosure: a single ridge that bifurcates and reunites shortly afterward to continue as a single ridge
- Speciality (various).

Fingerprint minutiae: ridge characteristics.

How do fingerprints related to ethnicity/race? ...more.

Martijn van Mensvoort - Hand Research

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