A study of sex differences in fingerprint ridge density in a North Indian young adult population

Kewal Krishan, Tanuj Kanchan, Chitrabala Ngangom

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48 Citations (SciVal)


Fingerprints have considerable value in morphological, biological, anthropological and forensic studies. Fingerprints collected from the crime scene and from the items of evidence of crime have been successfully used to identify suspects, victims or any other person who had touched the surface in question. The thickness of epidermal ridges varies between individuals; females are supposed to have finer ridges than males and therefore a greater ridge density. The present research is an attempt to distinguish sex from fingerprint ridge density in the radial, ulnar and lower areas of a fingerprint in a North Indian population. A total of 194 individuals (97 males and 97 females) aged between 18 and 25 years were included in the study and fingerprints were collected from each finger of the participants. Thus, a total of 1940 fingerprints were obtained and epidermal ridges were counted in the radial, ulnar, and lower areas of each fingerprint. The radial and ulnar areas are the 5 mm × 5 mm areas on the radial and ulnar side of the central core respectively while the lower area is designated as 5 mm × 5 mm area adjoining the flexion crease of the terminal phalanx on a fingerprint. The fingerprint ridge density in radial, ulnar and lower areas and between sexes was compared statistically using t-test. The results indicate that the females tend to have a significantly higher ridge density than males in the three areas analyzed in the study. The fingerprint ridge density in the ulnar and radial areas of the fingerprints is significantly higher than the lower area. The present study suggests that the fingerprint ridge density can be a relevant and useful morphological parameter in distinguishing sex of a latent fingerprint of unknown origin from the scene of crime. The findings can also be useful in identification of mutilated remains when a dismembered hand is brought for medico-legal examination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-222
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Forensic and Legal Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 01-05-2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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