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Thread: human hair forms

  1. #1 human hair forms 
    New Member Cherimoya's Avatar
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    As far as I know hair is death matter, consisting of the same material as fingernails.
    So why do Asians have straight hair, Africans curly hair and Europeans can have both?


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  3. #2  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    It's not "death material." It's an interesting mixture of proteins. Read more here:

    http://www.coolquiz.com/trivia/explain/docs/hair.asp
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keratin


    Also, the reason it's different culturally is because people selected for different things in different cultures.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Sophomore Dkav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    It's not "death material." It's an interesting mixture of proteins. Read more here:

    http://www.coolquiz.com/trivia/explain/docs/hair.asp
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keratin


    Also, the reason it's different culturally is because people selected for different things in different cultures.
    So culture would have to have developed before squinted eyes and Jewish noses?
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  5. #4  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Would you have preferred it if I said different populations often select for different things?
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  6. #5  
    New Member Cherimoya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    http://www.coolquiz.com/trivia/explain/docs/hair.asp
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keratin
    Thanks for the links, I cannot open the first one (perhaps a IE problem).
    I just wonder how hair "knows" that it has to curl itself and how it manages to do so when it is grown to a certain length.
    Shouldn't gravity force it to become straight?
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  7. #6  
    Forum Professor jrmonroe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cherimoya
    how hair "knows" that it has to curl itself
    My understanding is that round shafts grow straight and that non-round shafts grow curly or kinky. So, it's the shape of the shaft that helps determine some of the hair's characteristics.

    This may also explain why straight hair is more shiny/reflective and kinky hair (even after straightening it) is not so shiny/reflective.

    Also, hair is dead, just like fingernails, etc.

    Grief is the price we pay for love. (CM Parkes) Our postillion has been struck by lightning. (Unknown) War is always the choice of the chosen who will not have to fight. (Bono) The years tell much what the days never knew. (RW Emerson) Reality is not always probable, or likely. (JL Borges)
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  8. #7  
    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
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    I vaguely remember a biochemistry lecture about the disulphide bonds that cross link keratin molecules to one another. Treatment with certain chemicals can break and reform these bonds and are used by hairdressers to straighten or perm hair.
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  9. #8  
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    Incidentally, when hairdressers use straightening irons to straighten hair, they are actually breaking Hydrogen bonds which normally exist between protein molecules of the hair - whether they realise it or not.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Sophomore Dkav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Would you have preferred it if I said different populations often select for different things?
    Yes
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