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Tulane University's Contributions to Health Sciences research and education: A Guide: Dr. Harold Cummins

Distinguished Tulane Medical and Public Health Faculty and Tulane Health Sciences Alumni. Selected highlights on their contributions to medical science.


Dr. Harold Cummins, 1947 no. 1604

Dr. Harold Cummins

Matas Library Photograph Collection, no. 1604

Dr. Harold Cummins (1893-1976)

Chairman, Department of Anatomy, 1933-1960
Chairman, Department of Microscopic Anatomy, 1933 - 1945

Dr. Cummins achieved world recognition as the "Father of Dermatoglyphics" or the scientific study of skin ridge patterns found on the palms of human hands. The findings of his lifetime studies and the techniques he developed, known as the Cummins Methodology, are accepted as important tools in tracing genetic and evolutionary relationships. The methodology has gained common usage in diagnosis of some types of mental retardation, schizophrenia, cleft palate and even heart disease.

In other fields, dermatoglyphics is used to aid ethnologic and population studies and to make positive identifications by police.

*Tulane graduate


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