DERMATOGLYPHICS: An introduction to the dermatoglyphs of the human hand.

Dermatoglyphics – News, reports & research!

The word ‘dermatoglyphics‘ was introduced in 1926 by Harold Cummins – the word refers directly to the study of the patterns & characteristics of the skin ridges in the human hand (and foot). What are the basic characteristics of the dermatoglyphics in the human hand?


In most populations around the world is the ‘ulnar loop’ the most observed fingerprint pattern (see: the fingerprint of the pinky finger in the picture above). Loops are most frequently found on the little finger (and middle finger); loops are least frequently found on the pointer finger.
In some Asian populations the ‘whorl’ (see: the fingerprint of the ring finger in the picture above) is more common than the ‘ulnar loop’. Whorls are more often seen on the thumb and ring finger.
In population research usually the pointer finger demonstrates more variation than the the other fingers. For example the most common ‘ulnar loop’ is least often seen on the pointer finger, which often exhibits an other pattern such as: the ‘arch’, ‘tented arch’, ‘whorl’ or ‘radial loop’ (see: the pointer finger in the picture above).


The variations in the dermatoglyphics of the handpalm are much more complex than the variations in the fingerprints. An important element concerns the presence of the ‘palmar triradii’ (see: a, b, c, d, and t in the picture above): normally each finger is featured with a palmar triradius – triradius t belongs to the thumb (the thumb mouse – a.k.a. as the ‘thenar’, or in palmistry: ‘mount of Venus’ could be recognized as the third phalange of the thumb).
However, the number of palmar triradii varies with the presence of palmar ‘loops’ (or: palmar ‘whorls’). Usually the link between the number of fingers (D = digits), palmar triradii (T) and palmar loops (L) can be described with the following formula, which is known as the Penrose topological formula (Lionel Penrose, 1965):

T = L + D – 1

More details available via:
The function of the fingerprints & dermatoglyphics in the human hand!

Picture: example of the most common patterns in the dermatoglypics of the palm and fingers.

[NOTICE: The picture below includes a small mistake: the hand palm usually has 1 single palmar 'loop' featured with 5 palmar triradii - this implicate that 'c-line' (which starts in the triradius below the ring finger) should have ended between the pinky finger and the end of the heart line - and not between the ring finger and middle finger as indicated by the picture]

Palmar & fingerprint dermatoglyphics.

Missing fingerprints can have various causes: the 'hand-foot syndrome' + genetic disorders.

Missing fingerprints can have various causes: the hand-foot syndrome + genetic disorders.

No fingerprints: about the ‘hand-foot syndrome’ and genetic disorders’

What if a person has no fingerprints? Likely there are 2 options: (1) the person was born without fingerprints (due to a genetic disorders), or (2) the person has ‘lost’ his/her fingerprints during a chemotherapy (in a cancer treatment) – a missing fingerprint is often featured with the ‘hand-foot syndrome’.

By the way, having no fingerprints used to be no big deal. But the situation is changing rapidly due to the evolving applications of biometric fingerprint readers. In many countries fingerprints are required to: pass the nation’s border, and to get a drivers licence and/or passport!


“Last month (april, 2009) a Singapore-based medical oncologist reported a letter that was presented online in the journal ‘Annals of Oncology’, titled: Travel warning with capecitabine. The trade name fot the cancer medicine capecitabine is ‘Xeloda’ – a medicine that is often prescribed in patients with breast cancer and colorectal cancer. But the oncologist’s patient had been using the drug to treat his nasopharyngeal cancer.

Two years ago, Spanish cancer doctors reported a likewise story about the 39-year-old flight attendant Cheryl Maynard detained for several hours at a U.S. airport until her doctor faxed an explanation that the capecitabine she’d been taking for breast cancer had erased her fingerprints.”

Why a cancer patient may have no fingerprints: THE HAND-FOOT SYNDROME!


Fingerprints in the news!
Can palm reading pick up ovarian cancer?
Raynaud’s syndrome – another painful hand disorder
Paraesthesia: feels like having pins and needles in the fingers