The word dermatoglyphics comes from two Greek words (derma, skin and glyphe, carve) and refers to the friction ridge minutiae which appear on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Characteristically, hair does not grow from this area. The ridging formations serve well to enhance contact, an area of multiple nerve endings (Dermal Papillae) and aids in the prevention of slippage. All studies of the dermal ridge arrangements including Genetics, Anthropology and Egyptology are classified under the term dermatoglyphics.
The ridge formations of the skin of an individual begin to appear during the third and fourth month of fetal development. After death, decomposition of the skin is last to occur in the area of the dermatoglyphics configuration. There have been many instances in which the only identifiable part of a deceased person was the friction ridge formations.
There is the case of the Egyptian mummified hand (over 2,000 years old) presented in the book entitled, The Fingerprint Story by Gerald Lambourne, QPM who was the Commander of the Fingerprint Department, New Scotland Yard 1975-1980. A photograph appears in the book of a fingerprint from the left little finger of an Egyptian mummy.
The ridge detail is intact displaying an ulnar loop pattern.
In reference to the frequency of patterns over the ten digits, ulnar loops maintain the highest frequency of about 60%. This is especially true for the little finger in which the ulnar loop is its dominant pattern. In terms of the evolution of fingerprint patterns, the ulnar loop resides midway between the whorl (the first pattern to appear on the person of individuals) and the arch (that which was last).