Is there a sex difference in palm print ridge density?

Tanuj Kanchan, Kewal Krishan, K. R. Aparna, S. Shyamsundar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (SciVal)


Background: Analysis of fingerprints and palm prints at the crime scene is vital to identify the suspect and establish a crime. Dermatoglyphics can even be valuable in identification of a dismembered hand during medicolegal investigations to establish the identity of an individual in cases of mass disasters/mass homicides. Methods: The present research studies the variation in ridge density in different areas of the palm prints among men and women. The four prominent areas were analysed on the palm prints that included central prominent part of the thenar eminence (P1), hypothenar region; inner to the proximal axial triradius (P2), medial mount; proximal to the triradius of the second digit (P3) and lateral mount; proximal to the triradius of the fifth digit (P4). Results: The mean palm print ridge density was significantly higher among women than men in all the designated areas in both hands except for the P3 area in the right hand. Statistically significant differences were observed in the palm print ridge density between the different palm areas in men and women in right and left hands. No significant right-left differences were observed in the palm print ridge density in any of the four areas of palm prints among men. In women, right-left differences were observed only in the P3 and P4 areas of palm prints. Conclusions: This preliminary study indicates that though the palm print ridge density is a sexually dimorphic variable, its utility for estimation of sex in forensic identification may be limited owing to significant overlapping of values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-39
Number of pages7
JournalMedicine, Science and the Law
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 03-06-2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health Policy
  • Law


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