Koala bear fingerprints?

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Offline cheryl j

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Koala bear fingerprints?
« on: 28/03/2013 16:02:26 »
According to OMG Animal Facts, the "fingerprints of a koala bear are almost indistinguishable from those of a human, so much so that they can be confused at a crime scene."

I don't know how often this is a problem, but it would make a good episode of CSI Australia.  "Detective, we ran the prints, and the either the perp does not have a criminal record, or he is a koala bear - we can't be sure."
« Last Edit: 29/03/2013 21:02:36 by evan_au »

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Offline graham.d

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Re: Koala bears
« Reply #1 on: 28/03/2013 22:21:23 »
Koala bears are far too cute to commit crimes :-)

Mods, please note I posted something similar to this earlier today and it has disappeared.

When you say the fingerprints are indistinguishable from human, do you mean that this is unique. e.g. are chimpanzee fingerprints entirely different? What is interesting is that Marsupials divided away from Mammals a very long time ago and it is surprising that there is this degree of similarity.

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Offline JnA

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Re: Koala bears
« Reply #2 on: 28/03/2013 23:15:44 »
Almost indistinguishable from humans, on sight, in the way that a koala fingerprints display the same patterns, ridge line depths and size as a humans.  While other primates, who also have fingerprints, have observable differences.


The claw of the koala might give him away, plus I don't think they have prints on their 'palms' as such.


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Offline RD

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Re: Koala bears
« Reply #3 on: 28/03/2013 23:27:26 »
... What is interesting is that Marsupials divided away from Mammals a very long time ago and it is surprising that there is this degree of similarity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convergent_evolution ?

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Offline graham.d

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Re: Koala bears
« Reply #4 on: 29/03/2013 08:52:51 »
I can understand convergent evolution occurring when there are only a few ways to develop features to fit into an equivalent ecological niche. i.e. Having to solve the same problems in a similar environment with very many common genes but where, nonetheless, significant divergence has occurred. I don't know why fingerprints exist, but it does seem surprising that they would develop to be so similar without any clear necessity for them to do so. Is it that the common ancestors of marsupials and mammals already had genes that would ultimately lead to this similarity? And then they did so because simply there was no reason not to?

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Offline cheryl j

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Re: Koala bears
« Reply #5 on: 29/03/2013 14:19:01 »
Finger prints are ridges caused by folds of the dermis (dermal papillaie) sticking up into the epidermis above. The folds contain nerve endings sensitive to touch. (Except for the base, the epidermal layer is mostly dead keratinized skin cells.) My anatomy book also said the ridges increase grip, as one might guess. So I'm guessing an animal that needs fine motor control and the ability to hold onto anything smooth would benefit from fingerprints.

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Offline graham.d

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Re: Koala bears
« Reply #6 on: 29/03/2013 15:11:36 »
I could think of lots better things than fingerprints to aid grip though. Is it that this was the best that evolution could come up with from the joint Marsupial/mammal gene pool?

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Offline graham.d

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Re: Koala bears
« Reply #7 on: 29/03/2013 15:15:28 »
I used to do rock-climbing in my youth and can say that as an aid to gripping, fingerprints suck... or rather they don't :-)

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Offline cheryl j

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Re: Koala bear fingerprints?
« Reply #8 on: 29/03/2013 21:31:32 »
I used to do rock-climbing in my youth and can say that as an aid to gripping, fingerprints suck... or rather they don't :-)


True, but the "grip" you need to hold, say, a berry or a small smooth stone, is different from the grip you need for  climbing.

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Offline bobfl42

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Re: Koala bear fingerprints?
« Reply #9 on: 01/04/2013 16:21:39 »
The animal is a koala and not a koala bear. Only people who have never lived in Australia ever talk about them being bears. They might look cute but with the exception of the ones which have been trained to be docile they can be quite aggressive and will scratch bite and urinate on you. They also have paws with sharp claws not fingers like a primate.

Robert…
« Last Edit: 01/04/2013 22:47:53 by bobfl42 »

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Offline graham.d

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Re: Koala bear fingerprints?
« Reply #10 on: 01/04/2013 17:22:54 »
I'll "bear" that in mind and "paws" to think when adding such a "clause" :-)

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Online Bored chemist

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Re: Koala bear fingerprints?
« Reply #11 on: 01/04/2013 20:42:08 »
I fear it may be a bit late to post this but, on a related note.
http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/drop-bears-prefer-travellers-says-study.htm
Please disregard all previous signatures.

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Offline bobfl42

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Re: Koala bear fingerprints?
« Reply #12 on: 01/04/2013 22:47:22 »
I fear it may be a bit late to post this but, on a related note.
newbielink:http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/drop-bears-prefer-travellers-says-study.htm [nonactive]
Happy April Foods Day belated or otherwise.

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Offline JnA

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Re: Koala bear fingerprints?
« Reply #13 on: 02/04/2013 00:30:48 »
They also have paws with sharp claws not fingers like a primate.

Robert…

the anatomy is remarkably similar..