Classification of Fingerprints

Classification systems are used to organize information. In biology, for example, they are used to distinguish specific types of organisms. Most systems of classification use standard principles of organization, where data is divided into the broadest categories and then organized into subgroups.

Look at each fingerprint below. Criminologists use a system for classifying fingerprints to make it easier to compare. What categories would you divide them in to? What subcategories?


How scientists describe fingerprints:

Loops: start and end on the same side, which is the same side as the opening of the loop.

Arches: go from one side to the other

Whorls: roughly circular, ridge lines go all the way around.

Other Resources on Classification

Interpreting Graphics – uses a map to show groups of animals and how they are related; such as canines, felines, and foxes.

Exploring Phylogenetic Trees with Wolves – compare dogs, wolves, and coyotes and analyze a phylogenetic tree of canids

Practice with Taxonomy and Classification:   reinforcement activity, focuses on kingdoms and scientific names

Fingerprint Kit from Amazon