Dermatoglyphics – A Concise Review on Basic Embryogenesis, Classification and Theories of Formation of Fingerprints


Sushma Bommanavar
Moham Anj
Muthu Karuppaiah
Yashwant Ingale
Manjusa Ingale


The study of fingerprints known as Dermatoglyphics, has been utilized for individual identification in forensics for greater than 2000 years. They have been fully analyzed from various points of views such as embryogenesis, patterns of fingerprints and empirical mechanisms on how they are formed. Several studies have also linked them to certain human features such as gender, etc. This review paper is a systematic compilation on basic embryogenesis, classification of fingerprints and several canonical mechanisms involved in fingerprint formation. The knowledge about this is essential and can open new innovative areas for researchers working in forensics that can help solve the criminal disputes and cases.


How to Cite
Bommanavar, S. ., Anj, M. ., Karuppaiah, M., Ingale, Y., & Ingale, M. . (2022). Dermatoglyphics – A Concise Review on Basic Embryogenesis, Classification and Theories of Formation of Fingerprints. Journal of Forensic Dental Sciences, 12(2), 120–126.


  1. Michael Kuckena, Alan C. Newella. Fingerprint formation. J. Theor. Biol. 2005; 235: 71–83. DOI:
  2. Michael Kucken. Models for fingerprint pattern formation. Forensic Science International. 2007; 171:85–96. DOI:
  3. H. Cummins, C. Midlo. Finger Prints Palms and Soles. Research Publishing Company Inc., 1976.
  4. Alaa Ahmed Abbood, Ghazali Sulong. Fingerprint Classification Techniques: A Review. Int. J. Comput. Sci. Issues 1 January 2014; 11(1).
  5. K.A. Holbrook, Structure and function of the developing human skin. In: L.A. Goldsmith (Ed.), Biochemistry and Physiology of the Skin, Oxford University Press, 1983.
  6. Cummins, H. The topographic history of the volar pads (walking pads; Tastballen) in the human embryo. Contrib. Embryol. 1929; 113(20):105–126.
  7. Schaeuble. The Origin of the Palmar Triradies, Z. Morphol. Anthropol. 1932; 31:403–438.
  8. K. Bonnevie. Studies on papillary patterns in human fingers, J. Genet. 1924; 15:1–111. DOI:
  9. K. Bonnevie, What Does the Embryology of Papillary Patterns Teach About Their Importance as Racial and Family Character Part I and II, Z. Indukt. Verse Ver. 1929; 50:219–274.
  10. Bonnevie. The First Developmental Stages of Papillary Patterns of Human Finger Balls, Nyt Magazin for Naturvidenskaberne. 1927; 65:19–56.
  11. A.R. Hale, Breadth of epidermal ridges in the human fetus and its relation to the growth of the hand and foot, Anat. Rec. 1949; 105:763–776. DOI:
  12. W. Hirsch, Morphological evidence concerning the problem of skin ridge formation, J. Ment. Defic. Res. 1973; 17: 58–72.
  13. M. Okajima, Dermal and epidermal structures of the volar skin, in: W. Wertelecki, C.C. Plato, D. Bergsma (Eds.), Dermatoglyphics—Fifty Years Later, Alan R. Liss Inc., 1979.
  14. N. Yager and A. Amin, “Fingerprint classification: a review,” 2004; 77–93, A. K. Jain, S. Prabhakar, S. Member, and L. Hong, “A Multichannel Approach to Fingerprint Classification,” 1999. 21(4): 348–359. DOI:
  15. Hong L., Jain A.K. "Classification of Fingerprint Patterns (based on Henry classification system)".
  16. patterns.html
  17. Proceedings of 11th Scandividian Conference on Image Analysis, 1999.
  18. Subhashree S. Determination of Sex and Hand from Individual Fingerprints International Journal of Forensic Sciences 2017; 2(1): 000120. DOI:
  19. Kollmann, A. The Tactile Apparatus of the Hand of the Human Races and Apes in Its Development and Structure; Voss Verlag: Hamburg, Germany, 1883.
  20. Bonnevie, K. On the mechanics of papillary pattern I. Roux. Arch. Dev. Biol. 1927; 117, 384–420. DOI:
  21. W. Abel, Critical Studies on the Development of Papillary Patterns on the Finger Berries, Z. Human. Inheritable.Cons. 1938; 21: 497–529.
  22. C. Steffens, About Toe Bars at Gemini, Z. Morphol. Anthropol. 1938; 37: 218–258.
  23. Whipple, I. The ventral surface of the mammalian chiridium with especial reference to the condition found in man. Z. Morphol. Anthropol. 1904; 7: 261–368.
  24. Gould, E. A topographic study of the differentiation of the dermatoglyphics in the human embryo. Ph.D. Thesis, Tulane. 1948.
  25. Hirsch, W., Morphological evidence concerning the problem of skin ridge formation. J. Ment. Defic. Res. 1973; 17: 58–72. DOI:
  26. Schaumann B. Schaumann, Clinical aspects of dermatoglyphics, in: C.C. PLato, R.M.Garruto, B.A. Schaumann (Eds.), Dermatoglyphics: Science in Transition, Wiley-Liss Inc., 1991.
  27. Blechschmidt E. Blechschmidt, The Embryonic Design Functions of the HumanEpidermis, Z. Morphol. Anthropol. 1963; 54: 163–172.
  28. D.A. Dell, B.L. Munger, The early embryogenesis of papillary (sweat duct) ridges in primate glabrous skin. The dermatotopic map of cutaneous mechanoreceptors dermatoglyphics, Comp. Neurol. J. 1986; 244: 511– 532. DOI:
  29. S.J. Moore, B.L. Munger, The early ontogeny of the afferent nerves and papillary ridges in human digital glabrous skin, Dev. Brain Res. 1989; 48: 119–141. DOI:
  30. K.A. Morohunfola, T.E. Jones, B.L. Munger, The differentiation of the skin and its appendages. I. Normal development of the papillary ridges, Anat. Rec. 1992; 232: 587–598. DOI:
  31. K.A. Morohunfola, T.E. Jones, B.L. Munger, The differentiation of the skin and its appendages. II. Altered development of papillary ridges following neuralectomy, Anat. Rec. 1992; 232: 599–611. DOI:
  32. D.E. Bentil. Aspects of Dynamic Pattern Generation in Embryology and Epidemiology, PhD thesis, Wolfson College Oxford, 1990.
  33. D.E. Bentil, J.D. Murray, On the mechanical theory for biological pattern formation, Phys. D 1993; 63: 161–190. DOI:
  34. J.D. Murray, G.F. Oster, Cell traction models for generating pattern and form in morphogenesis, J. Math. Biol. 1984; 19:265–279. DOI:
  35. Smriti Ramdas, Sushma Bommanavar, Rajendra Baad, Nupura Vibhute, Uzma Belgaumi, Vidya Kadashetti, Wasim Kamate1 Correlation and Comparsion of Dactyloscopy and Palatoscopy with blood groups among students in KIMS, Karad. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth 2019; 12:111–5. DOI:
  36. Srigiri Surath, Sushma Bommanavar, Sudha B Mattigatti, Uzma Belgaumi, Vidya Kadashetti, Wasim Kamate, Nupura Vibhute. Correlation and Comparison of Cheiloscopy, Dactyloscopy and Palatoscopy with Blood Groups among Dental Students from Western Maharashtra. Indian J. Forensic Med. Toxicol. 2020; 14(1): 99.
  37. Sisodia M, Bommanavar S, Baad R, Vibhute N, Belgaumi U, Kadashetti V. Correlation and comparison of dactyloscopy and Cheiloscopy with blood groups – An institutional study. Indian J Dent Res 2020; 5: 728–33. DOI: