Uploaded by GymnastJ21 on Jun 03, 2002
Detectives arrived on the scene after complaints of screaming heard by a neighbor down the street. Besides the blood painted walls and drenched sheets, there lay a lump of human parts on the bed. What they found was the body of a prostitute that had been bound and beheaded with her liver placed between her lacerated legs. Recognized to be human only by the eyes that were missing from her skull, she had fallen victim to a psychotic eradicator. Jack the Ripper, known as one of the most historically significant serial killers of all time, left his victims’ bodies most unidentifiable, but not the latent fingerprints he left behind that later convicted him.
Forensic science used in criminal justice has recently been revolutionized with new DNA technology, but fingerprinting is still the most valid and effective form of identification used in law enforcement today.
Going back in the time of ancient Babylon, fingerprints and ridge patterns were used on clay tablets for business transactions and governmental procedures. By the 14th century, the fact that no two prints were alike was becoming more noticeable, thus the history of the fingerprint began (Von Minden 1).
Noting the ridges, spirals, and loops in fingerprints, Marcello Malpighi, a professor of anatomy at the University of Bologna, made no declaration to the value of personal identification, but began to point out the differences in fingerprint patterns in 1686. Then, in 1823, a professor of anatomy at the University of Breslau, John Evangelist Purkinji, discussed nine fingerprint patterns in a published thesis, but still did not take notice to the individuality of each print (Von Minden 1).
It wasn’t until 1856 that Englishman and Chief Magistrate, Sir William Hershel, used fingerprints on native documents. Doing so was “...to frighten [him] out of all the thought of repudiating his signature.” After gathering many prints, Hershel took notice to the fact that all the prints were unique and could prove identity from all those he made transactions with (Von Minden 2).
Dr. Henry Faulds, the British Surgeon-Superintendent of Tsukihi Hospital in Tokyo, Japan, shared his studies with Charles Darwin in 1880, but Darwin, who was rather ill at the time, could be of no service to Faulds studies. Eight years later, Sir Francis Galton, a British anthropologist and Darwin’s cousin, began to study Faulds’ articles on fingerprint classification. Galton began to concentrate on linking fingerprints to genetic history and intelligence, but had no...