No two sets of fingerprints are the same – right?

You are probably used to hearing about criminals being caught by leaving their fingerprints behind at the scene of the crime. You are also probably used to the idea that your fingerprints are unique.

But what if they AREN´T unique? You could study this (or a bunch of other good questions for your science fair projects at our cool resource site).

In 1892 an Englishman named Sir Francis Galton noticed that the ridge marks in our fingerprints would split in very different ways. He calculated that the chances of having the same pattern in your fingerprints as another person is around one in 64 billion!

Funnily, 64 billion is about how many human fingers are on the planet right now.

Now, I don´t want to disagree with Sir Francis (I bet HE never got stuck on his science fair projects!), but unfortunately it´s never been scientifically PROVEN that all fingerprints are different. Now, proving something is almost impossible in science, but it´s a lot easier to DISPROVE something.

It only has to be wrong once to be disproved.

For example, in 1988 a lady named Nancy Kerry found two identical snowflakes. That means that the old saying ´no two snowflakes are the same´is… WRONG.

A tip for your science fair projects: stick to things you can DISPROVE or at least demonstrate easily! Trying to PROVE something is very very difficult as it must be right every time the experiment is repeated… even if you repeat it an infinite number of times!

Fingerprints evidence has been used to convict 22 people who were actually INNOCENT. And that´s just the people we know about! Fingerprint evidence is very valuable, but because it´s never been proven, it´s a bit dangerous to rely ONLY on fingerprints. If someone you know is ever called for jury duty, you can tell them a thing or two about fingerprints now!

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