Body parts as unique as your fingerprint
Are you worried about giving your fingerprints when you get a new passport, for example? This procedure gives your unique info to the authorities, that’s true. But did you know that there are many other body parts as unique as your fingerprint? Well, those of you in the Witness Protection Program will really want to read this. And the rest of you can also check it out.
Well, surprise-surprise: your tongue deserves this honour perhaps even more than anything else. You see, this organ has its own texture, just like your fingertips, and the patterns on it are yours and yours alone. But that’s not the end of it: whatever you touch with your tongue retains a small amount of your biological and genetic material, also known as saliva. You’ve seen how the police in movies take empty glasses left by suspects for an evaluation? Well, that’s because their saliva is probably still there, and they can learn a lot from that stuff. So be careful what you lick!
On the topic of your mouth, there’s another part (or rather, parts) of it that’s unique. You might have heard that the last resort, when a person is unidentifiable, is their teeth. That’s not only because they have your DNA: a cast model can be made that, if compared with any other person in the world, will be different from their teeth pattern. Basically, this method of identification is as precise and reliable as fingerprinting. On the other hand, it has a rather serious flaw: if you wear braces, for example, your dental pattern will change, obviously. Same goes if you lose one or more of your teeth for whatever reason (I’m not asking). But still, your teeth are indeed unique for you, even though there are ways to change them. And anyway, any body part can be changed nowadays, so there.
Finally, you can call me Captain Obvious! Yes, irises are inevitable on this list because they’re so unique, even your left one is different from your right one. Your eyes are a paired organ, granted, but irises just don’t care: they develop as they please. In fact, they’re muscles that control the width of your pupils and adjust them to light. Their unique texture appears thanks to the opening and closing of your eyes, but not as an adult — otherwise, they would change with age, and that doesn’t happen. What does happen is fetal development: while you were still in your mom’s belly, you opened and shut your tiny little eyes, forming those swirls and furrows you can see in the irises. So you can say that you shaped the texture of your eyes on your own.
Have you heard the idiom about walls that have ears? Well, if they’d really had, you could’ve found out their names! Hey Sean, hearing me well enough, aren’t you? Anyway, the little gullies and hills of the inside of your ears are nowhere else to be found. You can be sure that no one has the same shape of ears as you. Scientists from the UK have even developed a method of identifying a person by measuring the reflection of light off the curves inside the ears. I wonder if it’s like a shadow play or something. Whatever the case, it seems to be a pretty handy discovery because Yahoo, one of the biggest software developers in the world, is now working on an ear scanner for smartphones. You won’t need to press your finger to a special sensor any longer — to make a call, just hold your phone to your ear.
I’ve already mentioned your eyes, but irises aren’t the only thing that can distinguish you from other people throughout the years. Your periocular region is the area just around the eyes that includes the bridge of your nose and your eyebrows. Scientists say this is a very reliable way to identify someone even without sophisticated equipment. Not only the eyes can serve as our biomedical ID, but the zone immediately around them too. This is especially true because, unlike other parts of our face, the periocular region pretty much doesn’t age: there are little to no wrinkles appearing in that part, and skin remains taut there. If only that could be true about the whole face…
Well, what did you think? If your fingerprints are unique, why wouldn’t toe prints be so? Your toes are just like fingers, except they’re on your feet, and they also have those swirling patterns on their soft parts. Some scientists even think that toe printing is a better way to collect biometric data about an individual because toe patterns are less likely to be erased. After all, you always use your bare hands in everyday life, while your feet are normally covered with some kind of footwear.
Once again, your mouth gives you away. Those tiny crisscrosses on your lips act like the patterns on your fingers (and toes, now you know). Actually, lip prints have already been used in the US courts to prove guilt! The main drawback of this method is that criminals don’t really tend to kiss everything they see, but if they’re careless enough to, say, drink from a glass and not wash it afterwards, then they’re as good as busted.
The retina of the eye In sci-fi and action movies, you’ve probably seen retinal scanners. These things do exist because your retina is indeed unique. In fact, it’s an exact copy of your whole nervous system, and it’s used to diagnose various diseases and conditions, from diabetes to brain health deterioration. What’s more, animals too can be identified with the help of their retinas. So if you’ve lost your pup, also attach an optometrist report to the “lost pet” poster. Just kidding.
Yeah, I know it’s not a body part, but it’s an inherent part of you anyway. You might think that body odour is too complicated a thing to use for identification, and you’ll be right about that. Numerous factors affect your smell, from the stuff you eat to the soap you wash with, but there’s a primary scent that’s unique for you and doesn’t change with the environment. It’s hard to separate it from the rest of the smells, though, and you’ll have to sniff really hard to discern it on another person. That’s why it’s not yet used to identify people, although there have been attempts already.
No one will be surprised by voice recognition technology today, but it’s still worth mentioning since your voice is yours alone. Part of what it’s about is already within you from birth, like pitch and volume, but other traits are learned. The language you speak, its dialect, even the family you come from all contribute to your unique voice pattern. I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but remember: whenever you speak out loud, they might be listening to you. Whoever “they” are.
Yep, the way you walk can also give you a way to… special agents, I guess, because nobody else will be able to decipher your gait without training. However, gait recognition has been among the main ways to identify a person for nearly a decade now. And with the emergence of advanced smartphone technology, it’s become much easier to do so. You see, there’s a device called accelerometer in almost every smartphone today, which basically counts your pace and tracks your movement. Having this information, a person can be recognized even without him or her knowing about it! So if you go out for a walk carrying a smartphone in your pocket, you can already be filed and catalogued. Heh heh..Have a good day!
It seems your hands are, after all, the ultimate traitors: they give you away not once but twice! Ever heard of palmistry? It’s a kind of pseudoscience of reading your future in your palms. And while it’s still a big question whether your destiny is indeed written in the lines of your hands, one thing is certain: the patterns on your palms are unique for you. The trouble with identifying a person by the palms is quite obvious, though: we much more often touch things with our fingers, not with full hands, so it’s easier to take fingerprints rather than handprints. But still, it’s possible and it’s practised a lot.
Well, talking about the unique features of our body, I can’t go past the stuff that makes us basically what we are: humans and personalities. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid (say that three times), is a molecule with a very characteristic look that you might’ve seen in both the books on biology and movies. It has two chains going around each other, and it contains all the information there is about you: how you grow, develop, function, reproduce — in short, everything. Scientists have been searching for the keys to the DNA for quite some time now and still haven’t uncovered all its secrets. Still, this molecule can be found in almost any kind of tissue or fluid of your body, that’s why one strand of your hair, a drop of saliva, or maybe a cut-off of your nail is enough to identify you. DNA testing helps police officers all around the world to find criminals very effectively and without error.
Well, did I miss something? Are there any other ways you can be identified as a unique person that you are? Let me know down in the comments! Hey, if you learned something new today, then share it with a friend. But don’t go back on the witness protection program just yet! We have many cool articles for you to check out. Just click any of the following links:-