Individual characteristics are properties associated with a common source to a high degree of certainty. One example of individual characteristics that forensic scientists may look for in a criminal case is the ridge characteristics of two fingerprint samples. Ridge characteristics or minutiae are the ridge endings, enclosures, and other details that make up a fingerprint. Scientists believe that there is a very small possibility of matching ridge characteristics in fingerprints from two individuals. Thus, when two fingerprint samples appear to have the same ridge characteristics in the same locations, the samples are taken as coming from a single person or source.
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