Are toeprints unique, like fingerprints?

Thursday 23rd September 2010
Submitted by NatalieHarrison
TOM HOLLIS, BY EMAIL

Yes they are. The whorls and ridges develop uniquely in each person and are not genetically determined. There are a few famous cases in which criminals have been caught by using toeprints. The first was at a Scottish bakery in 1952 when a safe-cracker was identified by the footprints he left in flour. Toeprints were even suggested as biometric data to be included in the now-abandoned UK identity card scheme.

GOT A QUESTION?

Scratching your head over a burning scientific conundrum? submit your question and we'll get our esteemed panel of experts to answer it for you.

 

Could I live as a vampire by just drinking blood?
previous qanda Article
What happens to fish when they go over waterfalls?
next qanda Article
Q&A Tabs

Phlegm is the mucous secretion of the respiratory passages. The cilia cells that line these passages are continually driving the phlegm upward to the throat, where it triggers the swallow reflex...

Diverse thinkers, from the ancient Greek philosophers through contemporary quantum cosmology and eternal inflation theory, have called time an illusion. For them, the perception of time passing...

Trees release oxygen when they use energy from sunlight to make glucose from carbon dioxide and water. Like all plants, trees also use oxygen when they split glucose back down to release energy to...

Beard hair is quite different to head hair; it is coarser, curlier and doesn't fall out as we get older. Comparatively little work has been done on the genetics of human hair colour, but it is...

Astronomer Fred Hoyle was the first to point out that if you could drive a car upwards at 95km/h (60mph), it would only take about an hour to get into space. To get to the Moon would take a little...

All female mammals have a clitoris, the sole purpose of which is to react to sexual stimulation, and presumably this stimulation has evolved to be pleasurable for most species. But establishing...

To create a sound, we have to set matter - whether it's a gas like air, a liquid or even a solid material - in regular motion, creating a wave of specific frequencies, which we hear as a sound of...

Mirrors don’t reverse left and right either – that’s just our interpretation of what happens. Your reflection in the mirror is actually reversed front to back – if you have...

Discovered by an American student named Gary Flandro in the mid-1960s, the slingshot manoeuvre usually involves spacecraft briefly 'coat-tailing' a planet orbiting the Sun, extracting some of the...

The ice disappears because the wind blows away water molecules that have evaporated or 'sublimed' from the ice, so the ice slowly shrinks in size. The molecules that escape are those with the...