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Why are your fingerprints unique?

It’s said that no two fingerprints are the same. Is that true? How did your fingerprints form and why are they unique? This Minute Earth video explores fingerprint science. Learn how loop, whorl, and arch shapes form from your volar pad topography and how different factors within your mother’s womb—growing nerves and capillaries, fluid pressure changes, gravity, speed of growth, and more—influence the final patterns.

fingerprint patterns
Related reading at Scientific American: Are one’s fingerprints similar to those of our parents in any discernable way?

Related activities: Be a Fingerprint Detective, MSI Chicago’s Fingerprints Hands-on Science, Ed Emberley’s Complete Funprint Drawing Book, and the Let’s Make Some Great Fingerprint Art book by Marion Deuchars.

Watch this next: An up-close look at fingerprints and sweat glands.

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