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Personal Identification and Description   193

I have discussed this chapter at length, primarily because Galton was undoubtedly the first to take up the subject of the inheritance of fingerprint patterns, and it is desirable that later workers should see how he approached the problem, and so try to avoid the difficulties he encountered. Our statistical tools are better now than such tools were in 1892, but still the problem remains of transcendent difficulty. Secondly, I have done so because Galton provides as usual many suggestions for further inquiry. Here as elsewhere we come across the urgent problem of a standard set of patterns, which will subdivide plain loops into small approximately equal subclasses. Galton's set of 53 standard patterns provides at once too many and too few. There is no great advantage gained by dividing whorls into "inner" and "outer," and the division of loops into "inner" and "outer" is not division enough.

Chapter XII (pp. 192-197) deals with Races and Classes. Galton obtained finger-print series for the English, Pure Welsh, Hebrew, Negro and Basque races. These were dealt with in a variety of ways and he concluded that there was no peculiar pattern which characterises persons of the above races. Many tabulations to discover racial differentiations appear to have been made without any great success. As an illustration Galton gives the following table

Percentages of Arches in the Right Forefinger.


Number of Persons















Galton considers that there may be a significant difference between the percentages of arches in the English and Hebrew races. Now the probable error of his percentage value for English is 1.5 with a slightly greater value for the Welsh and Negro. Accordingly we see that the three series of 250 are too small to show significant differences if they really exist between these three races. The difference between Hebrew and English is 3 to 4 times its probable error and may be significant. The point needs further inquiry on longer series. Although no statistical differentiation of the Negro was found, Galton remarks

"Still, whether it be from pure fancy on my part, or from some real peculiarity, the general aspect of the Negro print strikes me as characteristic. The width of the ridges seems more uniform, their intervals more regular, and their courses more parallel than with us. In

short, they give an idea of greater simplicity, due to causes that I have not yet succeeded in submitting to the test of measurement." (p. 196.)

Galton considers that this matter should be pursued further, especially "among the Hill tribes of India, Australian blacks and other diverse and socalled aboriginal races." I would venture to add the amplest study of the

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