Definition of Dermatoglyphics

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

Dermatoglyphics: The study of the patterns of ridges on the skin of the fingers, palms, toes, and soles. Dermatoglyphics are of interest in anthropology, criminology, and medicine, including dysmorphology (the study of congenital malformations) and the study of chromosome abnormalities such as trisomy 21 (Down syndrome).

The term dermatoglyphics was coined in 1926 by Dr. Harold Cummins from derma, skin + the Greek glyphe, carve. He later wrote that: "The word is literally descriptive of the delicately sculpted skin surface, inclusive of single ridges and their configural arrangements."


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