Different Types of Fingerprint Patterns

With the advancement of technology, we could be assured that the future will be more comfortable and better. In fact, one innovation that has been developed that has contributed to the world is the identification of individuals through the classification of fingerprints. This study was actually first developed by Dr. Henry Faulds.

Dr. Henry Faulds wrote to Charles Darwin asking for his help and input regarding the classification of fingerprints. Unfortunately, Darwin was not able to help but he told Sir Francis Galton and he helped Dr. Faulds. They have studied about 8000 fingerprints and they introduced the concept to the world in 1892 through the book Fingerprints.

Different institutions such as law enforcement agencies, technology companies and scientists then further developed the concept of fingerprints into a modern technology. The advancement turned into what we now call biometrics technology.

The advancement of fingerprint concept has actually improved and developed different parties and knowledge of different types of fingerprint patterns, identification process and strengths and weaknesses.

Understanding How Fingerprinting Works

Before computers were developed, fingerprint professionals had a hard time in advancing and improving the fingerprinting concept. However, as time goes by, being able to provide accurate identification through the process of identifying different types of fingerprint patterns has had a huge influence in the development of fingerprint devices.

Fingerprint lines and curves – ridges help in the uniqueness of each and every fingerprint.

  • Crossover – Refers to the point on the print where two ridges cross each other or intersect. Comparison of the size, shape and location of the crossover are one of the factors that help in the identification of fingerprints.
  • Core – This is the center or the origin of the fingerprints. Its size, shape and location of the core helps in the determination of type of fingerprint. It also helps in narrowing the search of the identification of fingerprint.
  • Island – This is the small ridge between two spaces that appear as a dot. It influences the shape of the uniqueness of a fingerprint.
  • Ridge ending – this does not mean the start or the edge of a finger. In fact, there are a lot of origins wind up deep inside the print. Hence when you say ridge end, this would mean it is the end of a line curve.
  • Delta – this is the space between two ridges.

Types of Fingerprint Patterns

One of the most important things that everyone must know when it comes to the identification of fingerprints, is that there are no two individuals that have the same prints.

With years and years of research, it has been proven that there are three patterns – loop, whorl, arch and composites.


It has been said that the loop is the most popular and common fingerprint pattern. About 65% of Americans have this type of fingerprint patter. It has sub-categories which includes the following:

  • Radial Loop – these are radial loops which appear to flow toward the radial bone. They usually originate from index finger and would then flow toward the thumb.
  • Ulnar Loop – the ridges flow toward the ulnar bone. They originate from the thumb flowing toward the index finger.


About 30 percent of the whole human population have this type of fingerprint and it is the second most popular fingerprint. The patterns originate from the edge of the finger. It also has ridges and curve which forms center point of the finger.

Here are the different types of whorls

  • Plain whorl – it is a finger ID pattern where you would find ridges. It flows into a single circular or spiral turn around circular, spiral or oval core.
  • Double whorl – The prints would appear to have two distinct patterns which forms on two different cores
  • Accidental whorl – this pattern has one form of whorl patter and another type of pattern formation except plain arch.


This is the most uncommon fingerprint pattern. In fact, only 5 percent of the human population has this print pattern. This patter appears to have originated from one end of the finger and form a curve then would exit to the other end.

Here are the different types of arch prints:

  • Plain arch – this show ridges entering from one side and it would have a wave as it rises at the middle of the print and then would exit on the other end.
  • Tented arch – this is a bit similar to the plain arch except for their waves have higher rise and has a definite angle. It could also have two or more ridges at the center.

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