The first definite mention of the patterns on the balls of the fingers was made in 1686 by Marcelli Malphigii, Professor of Anatomy of the University of Bologne, who spent an active life in investigating all parts of the human body by means of a recently discovered instrument, the microscope. In 1823, one hundred and thirty-seven years later, Dr. J. E. Purkinge, Professor of Anatomy of the University of Breslau, published a treatise in the form of a small octavo of fifty-eight pages. He described the wonderful arrangements and curving of the minute furrows connected with the organs of touch on the inner surfaces of the hand and foot, especially of the last phalanx of each finger, the curves, the stripes, the loops, the spirals, the whorls, etc. This was the first attempt to classify the patterns of the balls of the fingers. There was no suggestion of the application
BOWER JO, CLARK JH. SKIN PRINTS: THEIR USE IN THE DIAGNOSIS OF LESIONS OF THE BREAST. Arch Surg. 1929;18(6):2386–2399. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1929.01140150150011
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