Sir Francis Galtons Fingerprint System

Sir Francis Galton was born on February 16, 1822, in Sparkbroom, England. A Renaissance man, he is considered one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century. Prior to getting involved in criminology, Galton studied finance, meteorology, psychology, and heredity at Birmingham,

London, and Cambridge. He left school and traveled to Africa in the hope of studying geography. Galton reviewed Bertillon's anthropometric system, as well as dactylography, and supported fingerprinting as the superior method of criminal identification. He also contacted Faulds and Herschel in attempts to study their work. Herschel unselfishly turned over his research, hoping that Galton's interest would revive the practical use of fingerprints.

Galton's primary interest in fingerprints was as an aid in determining heredity and racial background. He soon discovered that fingerprints offered no firm clues to an individual's intelligence or genetic history:

The races I have chiefly examined are English, most of whom are the upper and middle classes; the others chiefly from London board schools; Welsh, from the purest Welsh-speaking districts of South Wales; Jews from the large London schools, and Negroes from the territories of the Royal Niger Company. I have also a collection of Basque prints taken at Cambo, some twenty miles inland from Biarritz, which, although small, is large enough to warrant a provisional conclusion. As a first and only an approximately correct description, the English, Welsh, Jews, Negroes, and Basques, may all be spoken of as identical in the character of their finger prints; the same familiar patterns appearing in all of them which much the same degrees of frequency, the differences between groups of different races being not larger than those that occasionally occur between groups of the same race.

He was, however, able to scientifically prove what Herschel and Faulds already suspected: Fingerprints do not change over the course of an individual's lifetime, and no two fingerprints are exactly the same. According to his calculations, the odds of two individual fingerprints

being the same were one in 64 billion. Galton published these findings in his 1892 book Finger Prints that presented this statistical proof of the uniqueness of fingerprints and outlined many other principles of identification by fingerprints.

Galton has been noted as the inventor of dermatographics (fingerprint identification) because he was the first to place their study on a scientific basis, and this accomplishment laid the groundwork for their use in criminal cases. Galton was responsible for the basic nomenclature still used today: arch, loop, and whorl. In 1909 Galton was knighted for his numerous contributions to the field of criminal identification. He died in 1911.

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  • oberto colombo
    What is galtons primary interest in fingerprints?
    3 years ago
  • letizia ferri
    What is the contribution of Francis Galton toward forensic science?
    2 years ago
  • mentha
    Who is Galton in forensics and what were his major contributions?
    2 years ago
  • reino
    When was francis galton involved in forensic science?
    1 year ago
  • panu
    What was francis galton's contributions to forensic science?
    11 months ago
  • sandra
    How did sir francis galton discover the way of fingerprintinng?
    7 months ago
  • Steve
    What area of forensic science is Sir Francis Galton noted for advancing?
    6 months ago
  • hending burrows
    How has galtons classification method changed forensics?
    4 months ago
  • matthew
    How does the galton henry system of fingerprints contribute to forensics?
    4 months ago
  • lewis
    What was francis galtons contribution to forensic science?
    4 months ago
  • Matthias
    What made Francis Galton's research so valuable to the field of forensic science?
    4 months ago
  • Brhane
    Who is galton related to and what did his work consist of?
    4 months ago
    What area in forensic science is sir francis galton responsible for advancing?
    4 months ago
  • eleanor
    How did francis galton come to fingerprints?
    3 months ago
  • prima hogpen
    Did sir francis galton discover the finger prints?
    3 months ago
  • Chilimanzar
    What was the contributiom of sir francis galton to the science of daxtyloscopuly?
    3 months ago
  • Stuart Curran
    What did galton contribute to forensic?
    2 months ago

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