What about fingerprints? If God designed the human hand, why do we have fingerprints? Do they perform a function, and if not, then why would God have created us with them?
Julien Schiebert and his colleagues at the Laboratoire de Physique Statistique de l’Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris have demonstrated that our fingerprints help us to feel objects through vibrations.
As you move your fingers across a surface, you trigger vibrations that are picked up by nerves. Some of these nerves (called Pacinian corpuscles) are embedded relatively deep (about two millimeters under your skin). Yet, our sense of touch is so refined that we can feel texture differences as small as the width of a human hair, about 200 micrometers. Scientists have wondered how deeply embedded nerves could detect the subtle vibrations involved in the perception of fine differences in textures.
Using robotic fingertips designed to detect tactile information, French scientists discovered that the small ridges on the surface of our fingers (fingerprints) amplify and filter vibrations, which help transmit them to the deeply embedded nerves.
How much do fingerprints enhance our ability to detect tactile differences? Do they double it? Triple it? Scientists found that the vibrations from a patterned fingertip were 100 times stronger than vibrations from a smooth fingertip.
Thanks to fingerprints, our sense of touch is 100 times better than it would be if the surface of our fingers was smooth!
Researchers determined that fingerprints only do their vibration-filtering job when the finger is moving perpendicular (at right angles) to the fingerprint ridges. This means that if fingerprints all ran in one direction, filtering would only occur when fingers moved at right angles to the ridges. But because of the swirl and loop pattern of human fingerprints, every direction of movement activates filtering properties.
What about the fact that fingerprint patterns vary from person to person?
According to the leading researcher of the study, G. Debrégeas, “The nice thing is that pattern doesn’t matter. The distinctiveness of fingerprint patterns from one person to the next doesn’t seem to have an effect on filtering capabilities” (Science).