Why do we have fingerprints? What causes them to form? Do they have a purpose? Are there toe prints as well and are they identical to fingerprints?
IIRC their purpose is to help grasp things. Things would slip through smooth fingertips more easily. I believe the cause is genetic. Yes, there are toe prints but you don’t hear much about them. They aren’t much use forensically since there are so few barefoot criminals.
Here we go again. The best current biological thinking based on the evidence is that we don’t have physical characteristics for a “purpose.” Physical characteristics just happen because of genetics. If they are useful, great; if they are deleterious they shorten life and reduce the chance of passing them on to future generations; if they are neutral they go largely unnoticed.
I, and many others of my age, have very little fingerprint left. My skin is also relatively dry. Dryness causes a lot more things to slip through fingers than does the lack of fingerprints. And not all that many things slip through.
While we are on the subject, do the patterns of whorls, loops, etc. on the fingers correlate in any forensically identifiable way with those same patterns on the toes? For example, if we had a body with destroyed fingers and thus fingerprints but intact feet and toes, could we take the toe-prints and use them to identify the individual based on their fingerprints of record (assuming there were such)?