Hair | anatomy | Britannica

Hair | anatomy | Britannica

Hair, in mammals, the attribute threadlike outgrowths of the outer layer of the pores and skin (dermis) that type an animal’s coat, or pelage. Hair is current in differing levels on all mammals. On grownup whales, elephants, sirenians, and rhinoceroses physique hair is restricted to scattered bristles. In most different mammals the hair is plentiful sufficient to type a thick coat, whereas people are among the many most hairless of all mammals.

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integument: Hair

In evolution, the overriding significance of hair is to insulate the warm-blooded mammals towards warmth loss. Hairs produce other…

A very powerful operate of hair in mammals is that of insulating towards chilly by conserving physique warmth. The differing colors and color patterns in hair coats may also serve functions of camouflage and of sexual recognition and attraction among the many members of a species. Specialised hairs referred to as vibrissae, or whiskers, function sensory organs for sure nocturnal animals. The specifically modified hairs of the porcupine are referred to as quills and serve defensive functions.

Human beings have a number of several types of hairs. The primary to develop is the lanugo, a layer of downy, slender hairs that start rising within the third or fourth month of fetal life and are completely shed both earlier than or shortly after delivery. Through the first few months of infancy there develop fantastic, quick, unpigmented hairs referred to as down hair, or vellus. Vellus covers each a part of the physique besides the palms of the arms, the soles of the toes, undersurfaces of the fingers and toes, and some different locations. At and following puberty, this hair is supplemented by longer, coarser, extra closely pigmented hair referred to as terminal hair that develops within the armpits, genital areas, and, in males, on the face and generally on elements of the trunk and limbs. The hairs of the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes are of separate sorts from these others and develop pretty early in life. On the scalp, the place hair is often densest and longest, the typical complete variety of hairs is between 100,000 and 150,000. Human hair grows at a fee of about 0.5 inch (13 mm) per thirty days.

The standard mammalian hair consists of the shaft, protruding above the pores and skin, and the foundation, which is sunk in a pit (follicle) beneath the pores and skin floor. Apart from a number of rising cells on the base of the foundation, the hair is useless tissue, composed of keratin and associated proteins. The hair follicle is a tubelike pocket of the dermis that encloses a small part of the dermis at its base. The human hair is shaped by divisions of cells on the base of the follicle. Because the cells are pushed upward from the follicle’s base, they develop into keratinized (hardened) and bear pigmentation.

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Hair is frequently shed and renewed by the operation of alternating cycles of development, relaxation, fallout, and renewed development. The typical life of various styles of hair varies from about 4 months for downy hairs to a few to 5 years for lengthy scalp hairs. Every human follicle follows this cycle independently of others, so the entire quantity of hair stays fixed; some animals’ hair follicles have synchronous cycles, inflicting periodic shedding, or molts.

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