Western philosophy has a tough time in dealing with the relationship between the body and the mind. In particular, identity has been all too often separated from the physical, all characteristic of ‘being’ invested in the soul. So it is no surprise that we have ignored the function of the fingerprint as part of our evolutionary makeup.
Fingerprints have served, so far, as an identity marker only in terms of criminality. But in reality the grip factor of fingertips are a trait for nothing greater than survival and advantage.
What is interesting in this article about a recent paper is that orientation of the friction plays a role in real terms for natural materials in nature, not for the artificial materials tested in labs and in human habitats.
Every trait, in short, has an evolutionary purpose. We are not above all other species or special in anyway. But we are unique, though, in our ability to delude ourselves and ignore important indicators such as this.