Are toeprints unique, like fingerprints? © Getty Images

Are toeprints unique, like fingerprints?

Try asking the criminals who have tried to hotfoot it away from the scene of the crime barefoot.

Asked by: Tom Hollis, by email

Advertisement

Yes they are. The whorls and ridges develop uniquely in each person and are not genetically determined. There are a few famous cases in which criminals have been caught by using toeprints. The first was at a Scottish bakery in 1952 when a safe-cracker was identified by the footprints he left in flour. Toeprints were even suggested as biometric data to be included in the now-abandoned UK identity card scheme.

Read more:


Advertisement

Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.