Study: Fingerprints can reveal ethnicity

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) — A new study out of NC State could change the future of forensics.

Right now, police already can use fingerprints to identify a suspect if they have prints on file.

But now researchers say they have come up with a way to determine the ethnicity of someone based on their fingerprint.

In a recent study, scientists analyzed hundreds of finger prints of African-Americans and European Americans and were able to find specific variations to indicate which group the print came from.

“How many dots, how many swirls, how many you have in each print to see if there’s a difference between each individual and the different ancestral groups and male and female,” said Ann Ross, Professor Of Anthropology at NC State.

There’s a lot more study that needs to be done, but researchers say it’s promising.

“I’m hoping that we’ll be able to really bring the science back to fingerprint analysis and that a lot of these cases that have been thrown out of course, we could go back and look at those cases with a different eye,” Ross said.

One of the things they eventually hope to tell from finger prints is whether a person is male or female.

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