Students' corner: Prints, prints and more prints

Finger prints are to humans as …is to animals. If you guessed, nose prints then you are spot on. You are truly special and one of the reasons you are unique is found on your fingers and palms, those small whorls(circle like lines) belong to you alone in the entire world, how special is that?

Chimpanzees, gorillas and Koalas also sport finger prints but surprisingly enough Koalas have the prints that are closest to ours. They are similar in size, shape and texture! But why have finger prints at all. Scientists assert that they help us get a firm grip on things and on surfaces of places that are especially slippery for instance a wet cup or a window that has just been rained on. Also, because they cover a huge surface area due to all the folds of skin involved, they increase the sensitivity of the fingers tips greatly. If you have ever wondered why we feel with our finger tips and not the palms, then you just got your answer right here!

Another amazing fact is that although, we have toe prints, all our toes and fingers have different prints, unique to you still! But what is more mind boggling is your unique iris (the part of the eye that is coloured). All the different folds and tissues determine the iris print that you have. It has been reported that identification using the iris is more reliable than using the finger prints.

Nose prints are another unique feature of some animals that have them. Each dog and cat that you see has its own noes print that can be used to return it back to its rightful owner should it get lost after a natural disaster like a hurricane or tornado or if has been kidnapped and rescued. The challenge here is to scan the nose print just like scanning the human finger prints.

All this talk has led me to think about our digital prints – what we leave on the internet in form of all the social media such as face book, twitter, Instagram posts and etc. All my posts,comments and photos are permanently embedded in print. But more worrying is our carbon print, the gases our cars emit, the burning of different things such as the paper made from the trees and all these activities that affect our mother earth!

Lois Nakibuuka
is an educator and counsellor