Limits of Uniqueness in Friction Ridge Impressions (02/15/23)


Webinar Date

Feb 15, 2023

Webinar Time

9am – 1pm PST

Webinar Duration

4 hours

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Click here to print or download webinar details: WEBINAR FLYER

Instructor: Alice White

Why can friction ridge impressions be used a means of identification? This webinar will unpack the important differences bet­­ween the following responses:

  1. “Fingerprints, palm prints, and footprints can be used as a means of identification because they are unique and permanent. Each fingerprint, palm print, and footprint in the world is unique and these prints remain unchanged from before birth until decomposition after death.”
  2. “Impressions of the friction ridge skin are a valuable means of identification because of the nature of the skin itself and because of the comparison skills exhibited by trained examiners. As far as the skin is concerned, the features the friction ridge skin show remarkable variation in the population, which means these features can be used to tell one person from another. Many of the skin’s features are also relatively stable over time, which means they can be used to track a person from one year to the next. Most importantly, trained examiners demonstrate a high degree of accuracy when assessing these features to determine the source of a given friction ridge impression.”

The first response contains over-simplified statements that can be disputed with published research and glosses over one very important aspect of using prints as a means of identification – it requires an examiner! The second response can be supported with published research and avoids exposing an examiner to impeachment with published treatises during testimony.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. The attendee will be able to identify important contextual information regarding historical statements about uniqueness in textbooks published by Galton; Cummins and Midlo; Wentworth and Wilder; Ashbaugh; and Tuthill and George.
  2. The attendee will be able to indicate the proper definition of differential growth and the impact of differential growth on the friction ridge skin.
  3. The attendee will be able to identify the source of the flawed assumption that ridge units line up to form ridges during embryological development of the friction ridge skin.
  4. The attendee will be able to identify important contextual information regarding historical statements about permanence.
  5. The attendee will be able to identify events that warned the friction ridge community about limits to uniqueness.
  6. The attendee will be able to identify factors that have impeded the friction ridge community’s ability to reframe issues regarding the concept of uniqueness.
  7. The attendee will be able to indicate the main criticisms of extolling the virtues of the global uniqueness of fingerprints, palm prints, and footprints.
  8. The attendee will be able to recognize those statements that explicitly or implicitly invoke the world’s population.
  9. The attendee will be able to recognize over-statements regarding the “permanence” of the features of the friction ridge skin.
  10. The attendee will be able to indicate the importance of incorporating examiner accuracy early in testimony as a foundation to friction ridge examinations.

Course Handout

Prior to the webinar (typically 1 – 2 days) you will receive an email link to a file or folder to download the handout and any relevant supplemental information. The main course handout can also be downloaded from the webinar platform at the time of the webinar.

Assessing Learning Outcomes (a.k.a. Quiz)

In order to verify the learning outcomes have been achieved, there is a 20-question quiz via SurveyMonkey at the end of each webinar. Attendees must score a minimum of 70% on the quiz in order to receive a training certificate for the webinar. Please note the quizzes are open-book and poll questions are given during the webinar to prepare attendees for the quiz.

Attendance Policy

This webinar may only be attended by the person who is registered for the webinar. Evolve Forensics does not permit broadcasting, watching, listening, or distributing the webinar or any of the webinar handouts to individuals who are not registered for this webinar.

Software Requirements

Attendees must be able to access the following websites in order to participate:

Webinar Platform: GoToWebinar

Test Platform: SurveyMonkey

The following YouTube Video shows how to use GoToWebinar as an attendee:


Please contact Alice White via email at

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