Research from 1900 says that finger nails can help with real life CSI? Ah, so close… yet so very far. Very little else was written about these two doctors — however it’s worth noting that their original study on fingernail size did not seem to be directly tied to forensic crime solving. That correlation was apparently drawn by the original (and unknown) author of this short article.

Some new facts about fingernails

The detection of criminals will, it is believed, be much facilitated through the recent discovery of certain curious facts in regard to fingernails.

Fingernails and forensics

When a crime is committed, it is important to learn whether the perpetrator is right handed or left handed, and an examination of the fingernails will throw abundant light on this point. Dr Regnault, in a paper read before the Anthropological Society of Paris, shows that there is a wide difference between the nails of the right and those of the left hand, and that the nails of the right hand of a right handed person are broader than those of the left hand, while the opposite is the case with left-handed persons.

Dr A Minakow has made further researches in the same direction. According to him, the difference in the size of the nails of the right hand and left hand varies from one-fourth to two millimetres. In those rare instances in which both hands are used equally, no difference in size is noticeable.

The thumbnail is always the broadest in the case of adults, and the middle finger has always the longest nail, next to it in order being the ring finger, the index finger and the little finger. The nails of the right hand are usually quite flat in the case of right-handed persons, the index finger and thumb being most marked in this respect.

On left-handed persons, such flat nails are rarely, if ever, seen. Dr Minakow finally says that there seems to be a curious connection between the circumference of the chest and the breadth of the fingernails, his numerous experiments having shown him that the broader the chest, the larger the nails are.


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Source publication: The San Francisco Call

Filed under: 1900s, Crime, Discoveries & inventions, Newspapers, Science & technology

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