Scientists aren't sure what purpose fingerprints serve. Research on the subject of fingerprints suggests that they may improve the sense of touch. Other wrinkles on the human body occur from bending and stretching of the skin, while fingerprints are not caused by repeated motion.
Research also cannot explain why fingerprints are arranged in swirl-type patterns. Even identical twins do not have the same fingerprints. In the womb, at a crucial stage of development, it is thought that the ridges form from stresses on the dermal layer of the skin, which is between the epidermis and subcutaneous layers of skin. This causes a buckling reaction and the ridges of the fingerprints are formed to relieve pressure.