Direct comparison of dermal and epidermal fingerprints may be vital to the identification of bodies that have been in water for long periods of time where the epidermal skin layer is no longer available. Epidermal desquamation occurs during the fixation of a body in Thiel embalming fluid revealing dermal surface of the skin which provides an opportunity to compare dermal and epidermal fingerprints from one individual. The aim of the study is to compare the quality of epidermal and dermal fingerprints collected from Thiel-embalmed bodies and report on first comparisons of epidermal and dermal fingerprints conducted by fingerprint examiners. Fingerprints were collected from bodies bequeathed to the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, University of Dundee, using black powder and photography prior to embalming (epidermal) and after the completion of embalming (dermal). Epidermal and dermal fingerprints (Ntotal = 3393) were assessed for quality by an untrained observer. The quality was assessed in 80 epidermal-dermal fingerprint pairs (Npowder = 40, Nphoto = 40) by experienced fingerprint examiners (Nexpert = 5). The fingerprint examiners also analysed and compared the paired fingerprints to establish an identification outcome. The fingerprint quality assessment results show the epidermal fingerprints have higher level of quality when compared to dermal fingerprints regardless of fingerprint collection technique. Preliminary results of fingerprint comparison show the fingerprint examiners were able to match a pair of fingerprints (positive identification) in 10 to 15 % of cases and they were able to establish fingerprint pairs as non-matching in 30 to 45 % of cases.
|Publication status||Published - 23 Dec 2019|
|Event||British Association for Human Identification Winter Conference 2019 - Chancellors Hotel, Manchester, United Kingdom|
Duration: 22 Nov 2019 → 23 Nov 2019
|Conference||British Association for Human Identification Winter Conference 2019|
|Period||22/11/19 → 23/11/19|
Dzetkulicová, V., Hackman, L., & Langstaff, H. (2019). Identification of human remains using comparison of dermal-epidermal fingerprints collected from Thiel-embalmed bodies (oral presentation). British Association for Human Identification Winter Conference 2019, Manchester, United Kingdom.