Hair tales

Hair tales – humans worldwide have many curious hairstyles; includes trivia on hair


We humans are no longer covered with a thick coat of hair. But the hair we still have is important.

That thick mop on top helps keep our heads warm, and it helps protect us from the burning rays of the sun.

But even more important, our hair is for show. We color it (right), braid it, add beads to it, and even plaster it with mud, as this Himba girl from Namibia, in Africa, has done (below).

We care a lot about our hair because we want to look good. Many people also use their hair to tell the world something about themselves. Are you saying anything special with your hairstyle?

Rangers: Many of the facts on this page are from The Hairy Book (Planet Dexter, 1997). Look for it in your library or bookstore. (You can’t miss it–the book’s covered with thick black fake fur!)


* Blond people have the most hair–about 120,000 strands on a head. Redheads have the least, with 80,000. People with brown and black hair are in the middle, with around 100,000 hairs each.

* Can you imagine Flipper with fur? Scientists believe that ancient dolphins and whales were hairy creatures. The hair slowed them down in the water. So they evolved (changed over time) to have almost no hair.

* Long ago, toothbrushes were made of hog hair. Today, some paint brushes are. (Look for the words “China bristle.”) And shaving brushes are made of badger hair.

* Creatures called streaked tenrecs have spines on their backs. They can shake these spines to make a noise. Mama tenrec and her kids listen for this sound to help find one another.

* People have been breeding dogs for hundreds of years to get some really strange hairdos The Afghan (right) has long, straight hair. Kerry blue terriers have hair that looks blue. And Mexican hairless dogs have… you guessed it!

* The hair on your head grows about six inches a year.

* Every person has about 5 million hairs all over his or her body.

* Right now, about 90% of your hair is growing and about 10% is resting. Each hair rests for about 100 days and then falls out. Later, a new hair grows in its place.

* We each lose about 40 to 100 head hairs every day.

* Most of us can grow only about three feet of hair before it stops getting any longer, even if we don’t cut it. But then there’s…

* Mata Jagdamba, of India, who holds the world record for the longest hair at 13 feet, 10 inches (4.2 m). If she wanted to, she could play jump rope with it.

* The longest beard on record was over 17 feet (5.1 m), which is the of three length full-grown men lying head to toe. (The longest beard on a woman was 12 inches.)

* A prisoner in India let his moustache grow for 32 years. It got to be 7 feet, 10 inches (2.4 m) long!

COPYRIGHT 1998 National Wildlife Federation

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group