The sound of a sneeze is as unique as a fingerprint. Its rhythm and timbre are exclusive to the person generating it. The tonal note it produces cannot be faked or imitated. It is oral DNA. A signature sound.
In Palo Alto, California in 2003 a thief was arrested, charged and convicted based on the oral fingerprint of his sneeze recorded by a quick-witted employee during a bungled robbery. Sergio Rodriguez, 23, had been suffering from a head cold when he attempted to hold up a small graphics design and printing shop on Carlos Santana Boulevard. He sneezed repeatedly whilst making demands for cash and valuables to trembling, terrified staff. Skip Ruggwelter of the PAPD said: ‘This guy thought he could hide his face, he thought he could mask his fingerprints, he thought he could conceal his DNA. He forgot our developments in sternutation identification technology. We whipped his ass.’ Rodriguez was arrested after the recording of his sneeze was broadcast on local TV and radio stations.
A sneeze is exceptional. A sneeze is exclusive. The sound of a fart is universal.