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Thanks for the fingerprints fellas!


The “oh so we all look alike?” technology.


In a sense. If you only had one of these guys In front of you and the photo of the other, I don't think anyone would question it enough to say it was someone else with any certainty, especially considering they have the same name. To be fair, you can find 2 different photos of any person that looks more different than these.


I once met a guy at the bar I used to work at and asked if he was the guy who had served me in CEX earlier that day. He said "oh just because I'm black? We don't all look alike!" I sarcastically said "no the guy that served me was Chinese" I don't understand the logic behind being offended that someone confused you with someone of the same ethnic background. Black people only resemble other black people, what a surprise.


This is totally hypothetical, but generally speaking if you offend someone accidentally just say sorry and move on with your life. It's not your fault, no need to dwell on it or be sarcastic because they didn't react the way you wanted them to. It happens to people all the time. Literally yesterday at Starbucks, I saw a blond girl wearing a mask and a baseball cap, to me she look just like my next-door neighbor so I made eye contact and waved, and she looked at me like I was a fucking creep. The barista gave me a dirty look too. O-well, no big deal, and not my fault. I just said sorry and moved on. It'd be weird to make a thing about how blonde girls all look alike and women shouldn’t be offended if strangers start talking to them like they already know them.


There was an Indonesian guy who was Obama's doppelganger.


My point is that you aren't going to get confused with someone who has a different skin tone so if someone thinks "oh so we all look alike" is an appropriate response it is perfectly logical to say "no, but you do look like this other person who, unsurprisingly, has the same skin tone as you."


Then sir youve never been in a line up


Pretending to be offended makes some people feel morally superior.


On the other hand, if you hear the same mildly offensive shit every day, it probably gets pretty old.


How dare you


Right? How interesting that they are black men. /s Also that they are wearing the same coat and have the same haircut.


Are you saying they don’t look alike?




If the shoe don't fit, you must acquit


"Propaganda of the pro-fingerprinting activists" is not something I expected to read today. Updoot for you!


Big Fingerprint has been a shadow power-broker far longer than expected


They do not look identical. Because the police officers were a different race, they were worse at distinguishing them than they would be for two people that were their race.


They are close enough that if you saw one of them one day and another the next, you might think you'd seen the same man. Identical is a poor choice of words. I'd call them "notably similar."


exactly, and there are enough white people that look similar you might have to do double takes if you don't literally see them side by side.


There are enough similarities that it could absolutely be an honest mistake. The profile is different for sure, but face for face, the lips are indistinguishable to me. The eyes have similar spacing and relative position to the ears. The noses are similar size and shape. Plus the same name thing complicates stuff a bit.


Glad someone brought this up. It's a common issue: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00208/full


Ok. I wanted to ask but was afraid of appearing racist…. But do black people think they look identical?


I don't know for this case in particular. However, in general we as humans have an easier time differentiating between between of our own race. While people who are of a different race than we are, we find more difficult to differentiate between. Its not racist. Its pretty well established neuroscience/psychology, the cross-race effect or own-race bias.


They do look similar, but not under closer scrutiny. There are definitive size differences in several facial features as well as shape of the head, ear placement and overall length of the face.


In fairness though, these are some very similar looking black men. Not exactly the same, but kind of like an Elijah Wood / Daniel Radcliffe type situation.


Yeah like the cops dressed them up for the pics.


Well their faces look quite similar but I’d assume they were father/son or maybe an uncle and nephew? Like, they do look related but not like the same person even in a photograph. Especially in the profile photo.


And yea, the lord saw William West and William West, And they looketh alike And he saidth, I forgot to make fingerprints.


To everyone saying they don’t look identical, well sure, that’s because you know they’re not and you have them placed side by side. But if you didn’t know two identically named, very similar looking people are out there, and had only a photo to identify one, I don’t see how you wouldn’t easily confuse one William for another.


Modern technology is truly impressive, imagine being one of those dudes getting caught and serving a sentence your "twin" committed. That'd be a horrible way to spend your life


Yeah you're just walking around because you haven't done anything wrong, then you're on the ground getting beaten and arrested. Jeeeez


Oscar Bluth feels the pain.


He was guilty of being the shallowest man in the world according to Joan Baez


I love when he walks into a scared straight tent and regales the young gay men of the dangers of prison rape


Can't imagine that happening to a black american in 1903




Good thing that never happens anymore right? Right?


[This poor guy served 17 years….](https://abcnews.go.com/US/man-imprisoned-17-years-now-freed-lookalike-mix/story?id=47981705)


haha yeah modern technology sure stopped that from happening haha!


They look close enough that it could be the same person just at a different time or a different photograph. The same person doesn't always look the same in photographs


Exactly, one slight change of facial angle or lighting and your face can look entirely different


Example https://i.imgur.com/evgY1XG.jpg


She's a two face. Like the batman villain!? If that helps


Where's the bot that slows gifs down. I want to see that at 10%


This is why Clark Kent can go out in public with no disguise other than his glasses. You’re not actively looking for Superman.


Well there's also the fact that Clark/superman completely changes his posture depending on who he is at the moment. Clark folds in his shoulders to look smaller,while superman full expands his chest and shoulders.


A very good point. Body language really does change a person.


Yes I am. He killed my parents.


Man Im black and have a family member that looks like them, and it still took me a minute to realize they were 2 different people


They literally look identical with the exception of the one having a slightly slimmer face. Same eyes. Largely the same facial structure otherwise. If they’re the same height it’s over


At first I thought it was like comparing 1 year at war or something like that. The bones structure of the person on the bottom is more prominent like if he was hungry and thirsty. His face is longer but it is hard to tell that.


It’s also because we have identical twins and they look a lot more identical than this, so the word just doesn’t fit well. They do look very similar though, which could have been said instead.


Guy they look pretty much identical. Everyone in this thread trying to act like they are different looking are just scared of being labeled racist lmao.


This is why our ancestors have perfectly smooth fingers?


Like sharks


Sure, no finger is smoother than a sharks fingers.


What are you, a gay shark?


Look dude, it's not cool to just out someone like that. I would have told y'all when I was ready to.


Did somebody say fish-sticks?


Why does liking fish sticks make me a gay fish! I don’t get it and I’m a lyrical genius.


You like fish-sticks


Fish are friends, not food....


Found the fish.


Do you like having shark sticks in your mouth?


It's true - I'm one of the at least 74 practicing shark researchers, and can confirm.


Only if fingers were smooth in both directions.


That won't help with identifying sharks. They don't have fingers. You can tell sharks apart from how sour their semen is from the other.


Until these two


Please say smooth fingers again.


I'll say it as many times as you like for 50$


That's a competitive rate. I would go for it if I were you.


Now this is hilarious!


It shouldn’t be necessary to add context but seems like it’s going to be needed These two men were coincidentally serving separate sentences at the same prison for separate crimes which happened years apart. The story was famous because the prison administration would mistake them and one was in prison for a far more serious crime than the other This wasn’t a situation of a guilty person being imprisoned because police didn’t do their job


>This wasn’t a situation of a guilty person being imprisoned because police didn’t do their job That certainly would never happen.


I'm impressed someone in the prison system voluntarily passed up the opportunity to just harass them both for free.


It's also probable that they were related. Their relation to one another was never determined for certain, at least not officially.


I thought it was weird they had the same clothes as well. Nice to I know.


Modern fingerprint use began in 1892, before this situation.


This was the catalyst in the US to start using fingerprints as the primary means of identifying criminals.


Are you trying to tell me that the US beginning to use something isn’t the de facto global beginning?


I'm starting to suspect that that is the case


I remember, in elementary, having my fingerprints taken for registration.


Mine too. I think they sold that to parents by telling them it'd be used in case of abduction or something asinine like that.


*criminals * some people historically charged with crimes are not, in fact, guilty of any crime outside of existing.


Agreed. However, the use of fingerprints to identify suspects has been, by far a net gain for justice. Just as DNA evidence has done.


In Argentina, wasn't it?


As in for recording them on file, yes. [Juan Vucetich](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_Vucetich) was the nationalized Argentinian that developed the first method used for fingerprint identification, and also the first one to use fingerprint evidence to prove a crime. He developed it based on some experiments from a British guy, Francis Galton which at the same time were based on the work from another British Guy, William Herschel, which had been documenting his own fingerprints.


OP might've seem to imply that these men were the reason fingerprints recognition started being used, but they meant fingerprints started being used to prevent confusion like what these two men presented.


You must be referring to the pioneering work of [Edward Henry](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Henry), the then- London Police commissioner who uses the [Twin Foxes brothers](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_and_Ebenezer_Fox) fingerprints to prove you could identify individuals (even twins as was the case here) via fingerprints.


[This article rather summaries the case](https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2021/10/26/fact-check-modern-use-fingerprints-started-before-kansas-inmates/8522137002/) tl;dr The story of the similarity in the two inmates is real, but the event didn't directly spur adoption of fingerprinting. The technique had already been in use for decades around the world, and the use at Leavenworth (in October 1904) specifically stemmed from a presentation at the 1904 World's Fair, not this case.


Fingerprints were created to find criminals? I never knew that people didn’t have them beforehand.


It’s true that people didn’t have fingerprints before hands.


This comment deserves recognition! Nice indeed


Anyone interested in the story behind it https://rarehistoricalphotos.com/will-william-west-case-fingerprints/


I wonder what humans did before finger prints were invented, everything just slipped out of our hands.


It was hard to have a grip on forensics before them.


Everyone would just slip through their fingers


Justice just beyond their finger tips.


So you’re saying they couldn’t point out the criminals before


I can’t handle all this knowledge


Don't worry, you'll pick it up eventually.


I hope i don’t drop the ball on this


Arrested the wrong William West.


This…this is true


That’s ok. Gravity wasn’t invented yet either… so dropped things would stay in the area.


Did you know the world was black and white before colour was invented??


Now you’re just fucking with me. i’ve seen the wWizard of Oz, i know how shit went down


I’ve heard everything was nice and flat until they invented mountains


You know, buttholes are also unique..


So are ears. It isn't common in the US but there are people trying to get that to be admissible evidence. Say someone put their head/ear up against a window or a door to listen to what was going on inside, they can take prints of that.


Anus-print collector... Imagine having that job.


That would stink or suck.


Now there is a race for the patent. Patent #999766888 - Anus print applicator - description: looks kinda like a plunger, but you hold it in place while an imprint is made on the plastic.


Ass clown


We definitely didn’t have fingerprints before hands.


A print of your finger's grooves. Which is what they developed as a tool. We just adopted the name for our finger's ridges after they became popular.


The fingerprint isn't the groove or ridge. It really is the print left by the ridges. However, even before the invention of fingerprinting, you would leave fingerprints on smooth surfaces.


>Fingerprints were created to find criminals? I never knew that people didn’t have them beforehand. Hamurabi earlier took it. With whole fingers...


How could they have them before hands?


To those saying they dont look identical [That’s my picture, but I don’t know where you got it, for I know I have never been here before.](https://rarehistoricalphotos.com/will-william-west-case-fingerprints/). Even Will thought it was a picture of himself. The article I linked is worth reading.


"The William and Will West story is somewhat sensationalized and omits prison record information, uncovered by later researchers, indicating that William and Will West both corresponded with the same family members and thus were probably related."


Definitely worth the read, and it's nice to hear that I'm not racist for thinking they look alike


You are not. Some people just look alike, regardless of race.


You would never be racist for saying two (black, white, whatever) people look similar. You would be racist for saying ALL black people look similar.


Yeah, some ass clowns just wanna sound extra woke. Every person posting here would mistake one for the other if they weren't side by side where people could scrutinize for the tiniest differences.


Man I just spent like 2 hrs on that site ha. Fascinating stuff


It is incorrect that they were not related at all. That was UNKNOWN. but found "The William and Will West story is somewhat sensationalized and omits prison record information, uncovered by later researchers, indicating that William and Will West both corresponded with the same family members and thus were probably related." [https://rarehistoricalphotos.com/will-william-west-case-fingerprints/](https://rarehistoricalphotos.com/will-william-west-case-fingerprints/)


And one inmate indicated he knew them both from before prison and that they were in fact twin brothers.


Lot of people in here saying, "they don't look the same". Just shut up already, yes they do lol


Since the standard photo was potato grade, you'd be lying if you said you weren't going to arrest the person if you were in the detective's shoes. The names match for Pete's sake


They're trying to be edgy or unique so hard


They think there are racist undertones to saying these two guys look identical. Identical is obviously a small exaggeration. Like no shit when they're all lined up and side by side you can see the clear differences, but they look so similar that people in real life couldn't distinguish them, even William West himself


Or trying to call everybody else racist


Yeah I get a lot of modern celebs mixed up just because they're close enough looking that if they're not standing side by side you assume it's the same person.. when attack of the clones first came out I thought Keira Knightley and Natalie Portman were the same person.. or learned not that long ago that Logan Marshall green wasn't Tom hardy. It happens.. now if they had the same name I'd probably never figure it out ...


They were both imprisoned at Leavenworth, the state facility. Side Note: Although finterprint-analysis has been used since then, there have been NO, absolutely NO scientific inquiries into the processes and efficacy of those *said rules* used by all nations. It remains untested, unverified, and unreliable.


Billy West? What a phony, made up name.


Before this case, the United States was often using the Bertillon system, also called anthropometry, which was a series of measurements - somewhere like 20 measurements I believe. People believed that no one would have the exact same measurements. Enter in Will and William West, who DID have the same measurements and looked very similar to each other. This is when people realized we needed a better identification/classification system. I also believe that they now think these two were related in some way (cousins maybe?), but I digress. Were fingerprints used as identification in other parts of the world before this? Yes. I believe it was a murder case in Argentina where a mother killed her children to be with her lover which is considered the first time fingerprints were used in a criminal case. Other cultures used fingerprints as a signature on documents even before that. I used to work as a latent print examiner. The Will versus William West case is always discussed as part of forensic fingerprinting history.


Did they have the same measurements though? I just read an article that said that one had longer feet (by 7mm) [sauce](https://dh.dickinson.edu/digitalmuseum/exhibit-artifact/babes-in-the-woods/fingerprints)


Yup apparently the police conveniently glossed over the details that didn't get them what they wanted, just like they still do today.


For clarification, what occurred is a man named William West was already incarcerated in the same prison as a 2nd man named William West who was going through the admission process. Because of the incredible similarities fingerprints were used to show that the current 3 match identification system which included photographs, Bertillon measurements, and names was not sufficient to identify an individual. Subsequent criminal identifications would rely on fingerprints.


All thanks to Brisco County Jr.


Hail to the chin.


> Around 1750 BCE, the Babylonian King introduced a law that required fingerprints be recorded for criminals.


Welcome to the William William West


It’s not that they looked alike, they had matching physical features that were used to identify people how fingerprints are not. Their ear to nose distance, mouth width, distance between eyes etc etc were all exact matches, AND they had the same name.


....I bet they were related. They lived close enough for the cops to encounter them both and get confused so they are close enough that some cheating happened and bada bing.


They were related and probably twin brothers... "The William and Will West story is somewhat sensationalized and omits prison record information, uncovered by later researchers, indicating that William and Will West both corresponded with the same family members and thus were probably related. Prison records also cite that Leavenworth inmate George Bean reported that he knew William and Will West in their home territory before prison and that they were twin brothers." https://rarehistoricalphotos.com/will-william-west-case-fingerprints/


Lol so their parents named them both William?




Not identical but you can easy forgive the guards and even other inmates for mistaking their identities.


Especially when they’re not standing next to each other…


Exactly. We can tell the difference because we have a side by side comparison. But imagine if you saw right now, without the pictures we have. And then bear in mind they didn’t know a near identical look alike existed.


*very similar


[Rajon Rondo](https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/eagletribune.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/5/d8/5d83a430-d8d4-11e6-a144-232c791672e9/5877945d24b3c.image.jpg?resize=600%2C781)concurs.


Dude come on. You’re looking at them side by side on your magic picture box. Not on the side of a 5 and Dime in the friggin ‘30s. This is within the variability of a camera lens change in terms of perspective (main difference is the width of their skulls and that can be influenced by different lenses). They are *dangerously* similar in appearance and that’s the point. Could for sure be brothers or even twins.


The person on the top has a rounder face and head than the other guy. However, if not looking at them side-by-side, I can see how someone would confuse them.


Iono I think William has a slightly different nose …


Came to say it - look alike or similar description.


The top guy just looks more chilled.


Damn we created fingerprints to find criminals?


damn they gave every human fingerprints after that


I could very well be wrong about this, but I looked this story up once before and I seem to remember reading that it was hypothesized that they may have been twins separated at birth, perhaps adopted out. It's been a long day, and I don't have the energy at this moment to double check that. Does anyone else know if that's correct or I somehow made it up in my head?


In the article it says a third prisoner knew them both from back home and claimed they were twin brothers


Wow fingerprints weren’t created long ago at all. When after birth do they sew them on?


Rajon Rondo?


Maybe I'm just strange, but I thought "identical" meant looks exactly the same.


You can thank Vidocq for pioneering fingerprinting.


There was a rape case where the wrong (white dude in case it matters) was convicted. The woman accused her neighbor who she knew. She had seen him and was positive. Turns out it was REALLY a total stranger who had creeped around their neighborhood. But these two dudes looked like TWINS. It was wild.


similar, not identical. And thats not the real reason fingerprinting was invented.


Call me crazy, but they look similar-ish...


Thanks for inventing fingerprints!


Sadly, fingerprints being unique is large a myth and not backed by any real science.


Who the fuck is saying they don’t look identical? Y’all stupid.


Yes, fingerprints never existed before this


French investigators were using fingerprinting in the 19th century, but keep telling yourself that the us invented it.


Before William West, there where no fingerprints


I have no idea on the validity of the purported 2 individuals actually being different people, but the claim that fingerprint tech for criminal investigation was created because of them is patently false. Fingerprinting for use in fighting crime was proposed as early as 1840 in the UK. Fingerprinting was used even earlier for many other things, such as alternatives to signatures. Fingerprints had also been used as a means of identification in China back in the 7th century. There is also the possibility that fingerprints of criminals were taken way back in 1700 BCE, during the time of Hammurabi, though the tech was obviously not modern tech and it's use would have been much more fraught with error.


People clown on unique spelling of names. But I've been in medical records for ten years. People really need to start using some new names. There's been numerous times I've had to reject something and tell the originator to include a middle name. We try not to use social security numbers but sometimes it helps if we have it on hand. To be clear: first name, last name, exact date of birth all matching. If you have a biblical first name and a top 100 popular last names large hospitals might need your middle name.


Damn, A+ to the inventor of fingerprints.


it wasn't the fingerprints that cracked the case in the end - one of them sounded like Keith David and the other one sounded like Mickey Mouse. If it wasn't for the latter saying 'pardon me!' when he got in one of the cops' way, they would have never found out.


Every time I see that come up I think its some old cloning experiment gone wrong or alien story that got covered up. The resemblance is uncanny. It looks more like the same man five years apart. "B" looks definitely older. "A" still hasn't lost his innocence.


Is this a "racism"?


Too bad they’re still mixing up black people and imprisoning them. One of Michael Moore’s books has a story about a mentally disabled black man who had the same first and last name as a wanted criminal, he was thrown in jail and they only discovered their mistake when they recaptured the original guy. Guess they never bothered with his fingerprints. Also, the guy was raped in jail.


One of these is not like the other. Can you spot the differences?


It’s a cool story, but definitely not specifically why finger prints were invented. Prints were found in 200bc to sign documents in Babylon.


Yeah too bad fingerprint examination isn't super scientific.


On a scale from reading tea leaves to DNA sequencing it leans quite a bit towards the latter though


Sure. But not quite as far as people think.


I don’t know why you’re being downvoted, the guy who developed modern police fingerprinting just said that fingerprints were unique without any actual evidence to back that up. Even today modern fingerprint analysis done by “experts” is highly subjective, depends on how many points of comparison are used, and even still someone can analyze the same person’s fingerprints and get different results. It’s only barely more scientific than polygraph tests, which are complete bullshit.


Yuuuuuuuuup. Different examiners use different benchmarks (or none) for points of comparison. Many examiners only look at ~10% of the print before rendering an opinion. I'm being downvoted because the studied pulling apart fingerprints is *kinda* new


But...on CSI a computer zoomed through a search engine and told you if there was a match or not, there was no human element. And it did it by putting each fingerprint, out of millions, on the screen and doing a little dance with matching dots.


They look close enough to confuse them, back on the days when a crime was committed and they just arrested the nearest black guy.


They don't look identical to me


Neither to me: I think it is something more like "witness couldn't be sure"


Wtf how did this happen after the Edgar Allan Poe William Wilson story??? Was Edgar a psychic??