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Monday, September 8, 2003

BREAKING NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac

Prosecutors' Late Evidence Focuses on Fingerprints - TIMES PICAYUNE, LA - Sept. 6, 2003 ...the prints recovered from the .38-caliber revolver matched only the victim...

School District Gives Thumbs Up To Fingerprint Time Clock - FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, TX  - Sept. 3, 2003 ...high-tech time-clock system will check workers fingerprints and work schedules...

Murderer of Texas Ranger’s Sister Caught - BAY CITY DAILY TRIBUNE, TX - Sept. 3, 2003 ...until recently, police were not able to match the prints with any in Houston police records and the case remained unsolved...

Operation Thumbs Up - FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, TX - Sept. 2, 2003 ...Arlington, TX program uses fingerprints to reduce check fraud...

Good morning via the "Detail," a weekly e-mail newsletter that greets latent print examiners around the globe every Monday morning. The purpose of the Detail is to help keep you informed of the current state of affairs in the latent print community, to provide an avenue to circulate original fingerprint-related articles, and to announce important events as they happen in our field.


Dusty Clark wanted me to post a job announcement for Digitalnet, a contract company for the US Department of Homeland Security.  Salary level is mid-30K, workplace is the San Diego WIN/AFIS center, hours are shift 24/7 which may include weekend and holiday coverage.  For more details, see the job announcement.


Last week, David Fairhurst shared an article written for Fingerprint Whorld, entitled "Is Fingerprint Examination an Art or a Science?"  This week, Glenn Langenburg and I make available a series of articles written over the years by Dr. William Babler.  Abstracts or introductions from the articles themselves are provided below, and the full articles are available in the CLPEX.com REFERENCE GRAIL (link on the left side of the home page).


Papers by Dr. William Babler:

Early Prenatal Attainment of Adult Matacarpal-Phalangeal Rankings and Proportions, 1975
As shown in 56 human embryos and fetuses between 15 and 104 mm in crown-rump length, "adult" matacarpal-phalangeal length rankings are attained by the seventh intrauterine week and near-adult bone-to-bone ratios or proportions by the thirteenth week.  Micrometric measurements of optically-projected histological hand sections show relative elongation of the distals between the 15-29 mm and 30-44 mm crown-rump range, and relative reduction to radiogrammetrically-determined adult proportions by the 90-104 mm CRS.  The eight-ninth intrauterine week is a critical period for distal elongation, and the tenth through thirteenth weeks are similarly critical to relative or proportional distal reduction.

The Prenatal Origins of Population Differences in Human Dermatoglyphics, 1977
The high variability of epidermal ridge configurations makes dermatoglyphic traits useful morphological features in the study of population differences. To this end, dermatoglyphic traits have been frequently used and population differences in the frequencies of types of ridge patterns have been well documented. Although at present there are no unquestioned genetic models for inheritance of dermatoglyphic traits, such traits possess three characteristics which make them excellent genetic markers. These characteristics are their high heritability, their high degree of individual variation and their permanence or unchanging morphology throughout postnatal life. The last characteristic is valuable in that dermatoglyphic traits are not subject to the variety of extrinsic factors that may contribute to the expression of many morphological traits. Since the morphogenesis of dermatoglyphic traits is limited solely to the prenatal period, variation in dermatoglyphic features may be considered a result of the interaction of genetic and environmental factors in prenatal life. Therefore, a key question in the interpretation of postnatal differences in dermatoglyphic traits is the nature of this interaction. The answer must include ontogenetic determinants of dermatoglyphic features as well as an understanding of variation in the morphogenesis of these features. The problem of outlining the specific features subject to variation is further complicated by the need to associate specific developmental variation with a specific morphological variant. Nevertheless, the question of whether postnatal differences in dermatoglyphic traits can be associated with specific variation in the prenatal development of epidermal ridges remains to be answered. An important corollary of this possible association is the potential value of dermatoglyphics in evaluating fetal development.

In light of this question, the present investigation addresses itself to the developmental origins of dermatoglyphic trait differences between American Black and White abortuses. In the following sections, a review of the literature from genetical, populational, medical and developmental perspectives is presented. This is followed by a presentation of the specific goals of the present investigation. In the second chapter, the methods and technical procedures employed in the present study are given. The third chapter presents the frequencies of ridge pattern types for the sample. The fourth chapter examines variation in the growth of epidermal ridge dimensions. The fifth chapter presents a maturation index for epidermal ridges. Based on the above information, the sixth chapter evaluates the association of ridge pattern with variation in ridge maturity index and dimension, The seventh chapter presents an overview discussion of the results.

Prenatal Selection and Dermatoglyphic Patterns, 1978
Although human dermatoglyphics have been extensively studied, little is known of the prenatal origins of dermatoglyphic patterns. Digital patterns, i.e., loops, whorls, and arches, were obtained from 81 human abortuses, ranging in age from 11 to 25 weeks post-fertilization. Patterns were discernible with the earliest indications of epidermal ridge development. Findings indicate that pattern frequencies during early prenatal development differ from those of later fetal and postnatal periods. Furthermore, a high frequency of arches is seen associated with spontaneous abortion, suggesting evidence for prenatal selection in human abortuses.

Quantitative Differences in Morphogenesis of Human Epidermal Ridges, 1979
Finger, palm, and sole prints have been investigated by a variety of qualitative and quantitative techniques ranging from simple frequency of pattern type to atd angle. The key morphologic landmark essential to each of these techniques is the epidermal ridge. Dermatoglyphics, human and nonhuman, has provided a wealth of information for both clinical and nonclinical studies. However, while recognizing the value of studying dermatoglyphics, it is also necessary to recognize the prenatal histologic and morphologic history of the epidermal ridge, which is the fundament of all dermatoglyphic traits. The present discussion centers on the complete ontogenetic picture of epidermal ridge development, from the initial appearance of primary ridges in the basal layer of the epidermis to the completion of secondary ridge formation in the sixth prenatal month. Embryologic studies have shown that the ridges and furrows that comprise dermatoglyphic traits reflect the glandular folds that form approximately 10-11 weeks post-fertilization at the epidermal-dermal juncture prior to the appearance of surface ridges. The completed ridge configuration preserves, in effect, the ontogenetic history of epidermal ridge development.

How Is Epidermal Ridge Configuration Determined?, 1983
I have really made only two basic points in this comment. (1) To understand variation in dermatoglyphic traits we need to study epidermal ridges both during their development and in postnatal life. (2) The explanation for ridge configuration is to be found as much in the tissue(s) with which the glandular folds interact during its development as in the ridge itself.

Prenatal Development of Dermatoglyphic Digital Patterns: Associations with Epidermal Ridge, Volar Pad and Bone Morphology, 1987
Although variation in human dermatoglyphic traits has been studied extensively, questions concerning the prenatal origins of this variation remain. The present study examines developmental relationships among epidermal ridges (the fundament of dermatoglyphic traits), volar pads and long bones of the hand. Data were derived from the hands of 165 human fetuses judged to be typical for age. Fetuses ranged in age from 8.5 weeks fertilization age through term. In addition to measurements of pattern type, epidermal ridge dimension (ridge width, separation and depth) and ridge maturation, measurements of bone dimension, ossification, and volar pad size were obtained. Results of this study indicated that digital pattern type (arch, loop or whorl) is associated with the shape of the volar pad at the time of ridge formation. However, this association is related only to pad width. Pattern type is also associated with shape of the bony distal phalanx. These data underscore the importance of understanding the developmental basis of dermatoglyphic variation.

Prenatal Communalities in Epidermal Ridge Development, 1990
These data document a significant relationship between epidermal ridge development and the developing skeleton of the hand. Width of the primary ridge is associated with general palm size, inter-ridge width with overall skeletal size and primary ridge depth with the subjacent bone, the distal phalanx. While general skeletal development does not appear to be associated with pattern type, ossification of the distal phalanx appears to be a key ingredient in epidermal ridge configuration. The differential associations between bony dimensions of the distal phalanx and pattern type indicate that bone ossification and bony morphology play a key role in determination of pattern configuration. The timing of developmental events, both epidermal ridge formation and ossification, no doubt, are additional factors in ridge configuration. These data underscore our need to understand the total developmental picture of the developing hand in interpreting the prenatal origins of variation dermatoglyphic traits.

Embryologic Development of Epidermal Ridges and Their Configurations, 1991
It has become evident that the dermatoglyphic traits seen postnatally realistically reflect the shape and developmental history of the hand during early fetal and possibly embryonic life. Increasingly, dermatoglyphics have been used as a measure of prenatal development. Asymmetry in dermatoglyphic traits has been used as a measure of developmental “noise” [50,51]. Meier et al [52] have used the developmental basis of dermatoglyphics as a tool to examine postnatal maturation. Rose [53] has reported an association between the presence of 10 digital whorls in women having histories of multiple spontaneous abortions. The potential inductive role of sensory nerves in ridge formation may suggest a common developmental basis for nerve aplasias or disturbances of dermatotopic patterns and dysplasias and aplasias of epidermal ridges. The association of ridge configuration with aspects of bony development within the hand suggests that ridge configuration may be influenced as early as the initial stages of bone formation, i.e., prior to ridge formation. Many quantitative measures of dermatoglyphics involve the counting of ridges. Yet we may ask what does a ridge count measure? Increasing prenatal research now allows us to address the biologic basis for their variation. Finally, since epidermal ridges reflect the developmental interaction at the epidermal-dermal interface, specific differences in epidermal ridge development associated with dermatoglyphic differences suggest that ridge configurations may contain more developmental information than is currently recognized.



From a forensic chat board on the internet:

"The secret to lifting the prints is to NOT touch the brush to the print actually a good way to do it is to get your brush full of the powder and hold it over the print then gently blow the powder off the brush so it falls onto the print then blow across it and the powder will reveal the print...OR hold a full brush over the print and gently roll the brush handle in your fingertips, messy but worth it...then gently and slowly lay your tape over it and start at the outside edge and press slowly across the print..but make sure you have the entire print covered with the tape or you might not get the part you wanted...hope that helped sorry it's late but I just joined..LOL"

Submitted by Mandi Hornickel: "(I never had this technique taught to me, did you?)"
Copied on 9-3-03 from http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thecrimelab/message/


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