Friday Weird Science: We need your ID, kiss on the dotted line.

May 14 2010 Published by under Friday Weird Science

Sci watched the new Sherlock Holmes movie the other night. It's cute, and one of the things that she really enjoyed was watching Sherlock Holmes use his amazing power of deduction:

Sherlock Holmes: As to where I am, I was, admittedly, lost for a moment, between Charing Cross and Holborn, but I was saved by the bread shop on Southford Hill. The only baker to use a certain French glaze on their loaves - a Brittany sage. After that, the carriage forked left and right, and then a tell-tale bump at the Fleet conduit. And as to who you are, that took every ounce of my not-inconsiderable experience. The letters on your desk were addressed to a Sir Thomas Rothman, Lord Chief Justice, that would be the official title. Who you *really* are is, of course, another matter entirely. Judging by the sacred ox on your ring, you're the secret head of the Temple of the Four Orders in whose headquarters we now sit, located on the northwest corner of St. James Square, I think. As to the mystery, the only mystery is why you bothered... to blindfold me at all.

And then of course there's this:;

(An excellent reason to enjoy watching a movie if ever I saw one)
And then of course, there was the cool historical methods Holmes and Watson used in their forensic studies. None of the normal fingerprint stuff, though. And it's too bad, fingerprints make great identifiers.
As I'm sure most of you already know, no two people's finger prints are identical. This means that you can identify someone by their finger print (usually the thumb). It also means that a lot of stories talk about robbers who sanded off their fingertips to make them more sensitive and prevent fingerprinting. Which seems pretty cool, though painful and probably rather ineffective.
So Sci always thought that the fringerprints were the only easily accessible thing about people that could be used for identification.
But what about other parts?
What about the lips?

This Friday Weird Science comes to you courtesy of reader Tony, who saw this and thought of Sci! Tsuchihashi, Y. "Studies on personal identification by means of lip prints" Forensic Science, 1974.

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