Michele Triplett's Fingerprint Terms ©
A collection of over 1000 terms used in the Science of Fingerprint Identification.

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TEC
Thenoyl Europium Chelate.  Treatment having fluorescent properties 
used with selected wavelengths of light to enhance cyanoacrylate 
fumed friction ridge detail.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

TMB
Tetramethylbenzidene.  Reagent used to detect / enhance bloody 
friction ridge detail.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

TMB is a suspected carcinogen and has a very short shelf life (one day).

TWGFAST
Technical Working Group on Friction Ridge Analysis, Study and Technology.  
Established by the FBI in 1995.  In 1999, the name was changed to better 
reflect the goals of this group.  This organization develops standards and 
guidelines in the area of friction skin identification.

Taber, Isaiah West (Tabor) (1830-1912)
There are many books and articles that refer to a man named Tabor 
who was an eminent photographer of San Francisco who proposed 
using fingerprints to register the Chinese around 1880.  One article 
was published by Jay Hambridge in October 1909 in Century Magazine
titled “Fingerprints: Their Use by the Police”.  Hambridge states “Some 
30 years ago…..” but that is the only reference to a date.  Tabors 
proposal was not accepted but it seems that this may have been the 
earliest trace of using fingerprints as a means of identification in the 
United States.  

In ‘Fingerprint Whorld’, Volume 10 number 40, 1985, G.T. Lambourne 
wrote an article about Taber and included letters he received from 
the Smithsonian Institute.  Due to Lambourne’s research it appears 
that Taber’s name had been misspelled throughout the years.  
Lambourne believes this misspelling originated from Galton’s book 
‘Fingerprints’ but it appears that his name was also misspelled in a 
letter from the House of Representatives, U.S. dated 1888.  Lambourne 
also discovered the year that Taber suggested using fingerprints as 
a means of identification was the year 1886 and that his initials were 
I.W. Taber.

Due to the combination of reference material available the man 
referred to as Tabor seems to be the well-known San Francisco 
photographer Isaiah West Taber (1830-1912).  

Tactile
Pertaining to the sense of touch.

Take Away Print
A 'take away' print, also referred to as a negative impression, is 
created when an object is touched and instead of the friction ridges 
leaving a matrix behind, the friction ridges take away a substance 
that is left on the substrate.  This is common when the object being 
touched is covered with dust or another substance, such as blood.  
Frequently 'take away' prints are tonally reversed.

Target Group
A unique group of friction ridge details that stands out enough for an examiner to 
easily memorize. When the same group is location in an exemplar then recognition is 
triggered and a detailed comparison can begin.

See Focal Points.

A distinctive group of ridge features (and their relationships) that can be recognized.
SWGFAST, Standard Terminology of Friction Ridge Examination 3-23-11 ver. 3.0

Taylor, J.H. (James Herbert)
On May 1, 1910, Taylor was promoted to Chief of the Identification Section 
for the U.S. Navy.  He wrote a book entitled "Finger Print Evidence" and 
in 1917 invented the metal identification tags for all the Navy men in WWI 
that had their fingerprints etched on them.  In 1926, J.H. Taylor testified 
for the defense in the first known erroneous identification case, see Hall-
Mills double murder case.

Taylor, Thomas (1877) 
Microscopist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, suggested that 
markings of the palms, the hands and the tips of the fingers could 
be used for identification in criminal cases. Although reported in 
the American Journal of Microscopy and Popular Science and Scientific 
American, the idea was apparently never pursued from this source.
Principle of Criminalistics: The Profession of Forensic Science, By 
Keith Inman and Norah Rudin, CRC Press, 2000.
http://www.courttv.com/onair/shows/forensicfiles/timeline1.html

Technical Review
A term first used by ASCLD/LAB.

Review of notes, documents, and other data that forms the basis for a scientific 
conclusion (see ASCLD-LAB 2008 Manual).
SWGFAST, Standard Terminology of Friction Ridge Examination 3-23-11 ver. 3.0

Technician
A person skilled in the details of a subject or task. especially a 
mechanical one.
Quantitative-Qualitative Friction Ridge Analysis, David R. Ashbaugh 1999 CRC Press

Technology
The science of the application of knowledge to practical purposes : applied science.
Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary, © 2002 Merriam-Webster, Inc.
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=technology 10-14-2005

Tenprint
A recording of the friction ridge skin on the distal phalanges.

1. A generic reference to examinations performed on intentionally recorded friction 
ridge impressions.
2. A controlled recording of an individual’s available fingers using ink, electronic 
imaging, or other medium.
SWGFAST, Standard Terminology of Friction Ridge Examination 3-23-11 ver. 3.0

Tenprint Examiner
See Friction Ridge Examiner.

Tension Crease
"Usually in crisscrossing patterns or at right angles to the ridges.  
These secondary creases are known as tension creases and are not normally 
found on the hands at birth. "
Scott's Fingerprint Mechanics.  By Robert Olsen 

See Creases, Flexion Creases and White Lines.

Tetramethylbenzidene
See TMB.

Thenar Area
The large cushion of the palm located at the base of the thumb.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Thenoyl Europium Chelate (TEC)
A fluorescent dye stain used with an ultraviolet light source to 
visualize cyanoacrylate ester fumed friction ridge detail.

Theory
A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or 
phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely 
accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena
The American Heritage ® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=theory 02-27-03

An explanation of why a natural phenomenon occurs which has been tested 
and has gained general acceptance.

Explanations of observations (or of laws). The fact that we have a pretty 
good understanding of how stars explode doesn't necessarily mean we could 
predict the next supernova; we have a theory but not a law. 
http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/oct99/940942724.Sh.r.html 02-27-03

(Authors note) This is a nonscientific definition, generally what people 
think of as a theory:
An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture. 
The American Heritage ® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=theory 02-27-03

Theory of Differential Growth
The scientific theory that explains why fingerprints are unique.  Internal and external 
pressures and stresses alter the volar pad development during the fetal stage.  
These pressures also effect how primary ridges grow.  Since it is impossible to 
duplicate these pressures, no two fingerprints will ever be the same. 

Besides the Theory of Differential Growth being based on embryonic biological 
formation, it is also supported by statistical probabilities (the probability of 
duplication is virtually zero) and empirical data (no two formations have been 
found to be the same in over 100 years).  

Theory of Fingerprint Permanence (or Persistency)
The scientific theory that explains why fingerprints are permanent.  
Fingerprints develop on a fetus.  Once the secondary ridges start growing, 
the primary ridges stop any further development and the blueprint for the 
friction ridge pattern is established.  This pattern is permanent with 
the exception of scaring.

Thermal Paper
Thermal paper is paper that uses heat to produce its images.  It has a chemical 
coating on one side that darkens when exposed to heat.  The coated side of thermal 
paper is sensitive to the DFO and ninhydrin processes.  DMAC, RTX, Hydrochloric 
Acid, Indanedione (HFE-7100 formulation) and physical developer are good 
alternatives to processing this kind of paper.

ThermaNin
A ninhydrin derivative, available from BVDA, used to recover latent prints on 
thermal paper.  This chemical recovers latent prints without turning the thermal 
paper black.

Thermoplastic Powder
Toner powder used in copiers and printers.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Thick Skin
Thick skin refers to skin on the palms of the hands, fingertips or the soles 
of the feet.  This skin lacks follicles, sebaceous glands and arrector pili 
muscles.
http://www.vcu.edu/anatomy/OB/Skin~1/tsld020.htm 08-07-2004

Thin Skin
Nonfriction ridge skin.

Thin skin is skin that covers most of the body.  It contains hair follicles, 
sebaceous glands and arrector pili muscles.  It also has thinner epidermis 
with less developed strata granulosa and lucida, and the stratum corneum may 
be quite thin.
http://www.vcu.edu/anatomy/OB/Skin~1/tsld020.htm 08-07-2004

Third Level Detail (also see Level 3 Detail)
Ridge shape, relative pore location, and some accidental details.
Quantitative-Qualitative Friction Ridge Analysis, David R. Ashbaugh 1999 CRC Press

Thompson, Gilbert  (March 21, 1839-June 9, 1909)
A railroad builder with the U.S. Geological Survey in New Mexico, who in 1882 
put his own thumbprint on wage chits to safeguard himself from forgeries.
http://www.forensicdna.com/Timeline020702.pdf 03-08-2003

Thompson was the first person to use fingerprints as a means of identification 
in the United States.

Tibia
A bone in the lower leg.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Tibial Area
The plantar area situated on the big toe side of the foot.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Titanium Dioxide
Titanium Dioxide is a white powder used as a coloring pigment.  In 2003, 
Josh Bergeron published a paper in the Journal of Forensic Identification 
showing that when this powder is mixed with methanol it becomes a wonderful 
processing technique to develop friction ridge detail left in blood on dark 
surfaces.

Dave Wade also discovered that Titanium Dioxide can be mixed with water and 
photo-flo 200 to develop friction ridge detail on other items, including 
the adhesive side of tape.  See WhitePrint © Titanium Dioxide.

Toeprint
Friction ridge impression left by a digit of the plantar surface.

Tolerance
The acceptance of dissimilarity caused by distortion, usually involving an individualization; 
the opposite of the un-acceptance of differences caused by different friction ridge 
sources involving an exclusion. Generally expressed as "within tolerance" or "out of 
tolerance" for the level of clarity that is present in both impressions.

Within an acceptable range.

The amount of variation in appearance of friction ridge features to be allowed during a 
comparison, should a corresponding print be made available. 
SWGFAST, Standard Terminology of Friction Ridge Examination 3-23-11 ver. 3.0

Tonal Reversal
A transferred impression representing the furrows of a friction ridge impression rather than 
the ridges. Tonal reversals result in the reverse effect than expected, i.e. with ink or black 
powder, the dark lines represent the furrows instead of the friction ridges. Some reasons for 
tonal reversals are:
a) excess moisture present on the skin
b) excess moisture present on the substrate
c) pressure

Visual clues that may indicate a tonal reversed print may include:
a) processing adheres to the background instead of adhering to the friction ridges (with black 
powder processing, the background is dark)
b) the ridge count is off by one ridge with regard to the spatial relationship between 
characteristics.
c) the appearance of dots in what appears to be the furrows, these are actually pores in the ridges
d) split ridges: a thin line may appear in what is assumed to be the ridges, these are actually the 
furrows

Top-Down Influences
One of the two cognitive influences with respect to observational knowledge.  Top-
down influences are subjective in nature, guided by prior knowledge, expectations, 
or emotions.

See Bottom-Up.

Transferred Print
A transferred print is a true friction ridge impression that has been transferred 
to another surface.  This may happen intentionally (as with fabricated or forged 
prints) or unintentionally (by the original substrate coming in contact with 
another surface).  If a transfer occurs unintentionally, the transferred print 
will be a reversed image.

Transient Crease
Creases which are not permanent.  

Transitive Property of Equality
The mathematical principle: If a = b and b = c, then a = c.  This relates to friction 
skin identifications in establishing that if a print (a) was identified to print (b) 
and print (b) was identified to print (c) then it is known that print (a) was left by 
the same person as print (c) without the need of doing an additional comparison.

Transitory Print
A latent print seen by breathing on it.

Transposing the Conditional
The statistical equivalent of the Prosecutors Fallacy.  In Bayes Theorum, the 
conditional probability of an event happening, given that another event has 
happened is expressed as P(a/b).  Transposing the conditional is when someone 
misinterprets this to be the same as P(b/a), whether intentional or unintentional.  
Example: While looking at the probability of someone speaking Spanish, given that 
they are from Spain it may be misrepresented as the probability of someone being 
from Spain, given that they speak Spanish.  
Transposing the conditional can be related to fingerprints identifications in many 
different ways.  One example is that Examiners may be reluctant to testify to any 
minimum point standard.  This is often because people misinterpret the minimum number 
of points you may have used to make an identification with the minimum number of 
points that you would use to make an identification.  Of course, this is not correct 
because there are other conditions that an identification is based on.

See Prosecutors Fallacy. 

Trauma
Injury or damage.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Trifurcation
The point at which one friction ridge divides into three friction ridges.
SWGFAST, Standard Terminology of Friction Ridge Examination 3-23-11 ver. 3.0

Triketohydrindine Hydrate
See Ninhydrin.

Tripartite Rule
Published in the 1910’s, by Edmund Locard, the Tripartite Rule gives 3 different 
conclusions to a fingerprint identification.
1) If more than 12 Galton points exist, then the certainty of a positive identification 
is beyond debate.
2) If 8-12 Galton points exist, an identification will then be dependent on other items, 
such as rarity.
3) If less than 8 Galton points exist, then the print cannot provide a certain 
identification.

Triradius
Area on the friction ridges where three ridge systems meet.
Quantitative-Qualitative Friction Ridge Analysis, David R. Ashbaugh 1999 CRC Press

This term was introduced by one of the authors of the book "Personal 
Identification".  It suggests a 3 point star and includes both the delta 
and the 3 radiating lines where ridges deviate in different directions.
Personal Identification, Wentworth and Wilder 1918 pg. 117.

Troup Committee
In 1894, Britain’s Troup Committee added fingerprints to Bertillon Identification Cards. 
The fingerprints were not used for identification purposes, however, the value of 
fingerprints were being recognized.

See Belper Committee.

True Skin
Another term for the dermis.

Turner, William Russell
See Russell-Turner, William.

Type 1 Error
The error in a system to overreact, a false positive result.  An erroneous individualization.

Type 2 Error
The error in a system to underreact.  Some view this type of error as either “false negative 
results” or “inconclusive results when a definitive result could have been found”.  Others 
view a type 2 error only a “false negative results” stating that inconclusive results cannot 
be an erroneous conclusion because inconclusive results are not conclusions, but the absence 
of a conclusion.

Type Lines
The two innermost friction ridges associated with a delta that parallel, diverge, and surround 
or tend to surround the pattern area.
SWGFAST, Standard Terminology of Friction Ridge Examination 3-23-11 ver. 3.0

Typica
A Greek word which is synonymous with characteristic.



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Copyright © 2002-2016, Michele Triplett. All rights reserved.