3M -- Marsupial Murder Mysteries
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 96 00:14:03 -0800
Subject: 3M -- Marsupial Murder Mysteries
Forwarded-by: John Robinson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
11:47 AM ET 12/05/96
Koalas have human-like fingerprints, experts say
LONDON (Reuter) - Koala bears have fingerprints so close to
those of people that they could easily be mistaken by police at
the scene of a crime, Australian scientists say.
The cuddly marsupials are the only other animal found to
have true fingerprints. Not even our closest relatives, the
Maciej Henneberg, a biological anthropologist and forensic
scientist at the University of Adelaide, told New Scientist
magazine that animals apparently evolved fingerprints for the
same reason humans did -- to help them climb.
While handling koalas in the Urimbirra wildlife park, near
Adelaide, Henneberg noticed their fingers carried ridged
patterns of loops, whorls and arches like those on a human hand.
``It appears that no one has bothered to study them in
detail,'' he said.
``Marsupials such as the koala split from the lineage of
primates about 80 million years ago. So we have two lineages
independently developing the same trait,'' he added.
``Although it's extremely unlikely that koala prints would
be found at the scene of a crime, police should at least be
aware of the possibility.''
© 1996 Peter Langston