Dactyloscopy is a discipline of criminal technique that deals with the study of papillary lines on fingertips to prove the identity of a person. To date, it remains the most successful, infallible and the most widespread identification method. It is best known as the method of determining perpetrators of criminal offenses based on the traces of papillary lines left on the crime scene.
Ivan Vučetić from the island of Hvar was the first in the world in 1891 to design and apply the dactiloscopic classification of fingerprints in practice. By Vučetić's engagement on the introduction of fingerprints, only the measuring systems that used to compare body height, wide range of hands, and head size were used in criminology. Studying the work of British anthropologist Francis Galton, Vučetić analysed fingerprints with regard to the shape of papillary lines - which can resemble arches, loops or circles. According to Galton, papillary lines are persistent, immutable and endlessly diverse. Vučetić noticed the practical application of these perceptions of criminology and decided to use them.
For the first time, Vučetić applied his system successfully in resolving a case that in 1892 scolded the Argentine town: murder of two children. The mother of the children claimed that her former lover killed them but the fingerprint found at the crime scene showed that they had been murdered by the mother. Faced with the evidence, she admitted infanticide, and for a terrible crime she was convicted of a lifelong prison. After that, fingerprint identification was successfully applied in two more cases and became a compulsory method in anthropometry.