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Rarity of Fossilized Hairs- Still a Mystery

Archaeologists have always been trying to unfold the mystery of history. Fossils are the remains of the plants or animals that are preserved. It helps the scientists to know about the gender, age, colour, cause of death and their qualities, even after their death. The delicate body coverings like skin, hair and feathers can be preserved after the death of the animal or plant, but it is found that preserving fossilized hair is very rare in spite of being an important tool for understanding ancient species. Various contradictory explanations have been given regarding that. Some blame physical traits for that; whereas, some find the lack in the scientists' collection techniques. Hairs are the most important source of DNA, therefore research is going on to know why it is this much difficult to get fossilized hairs.  Fossil beds that preserve soft tissues like hair and feathers are called “Lagerstatte” and they are very rare themselves. It is also said that the reason behind rarity of fossilized hair is different types of “protein keratin” present in the hair which can impact the likelihood of fossilization; however, it is also not globally accepted. Scientists also applied a statistical approach called a time series analyses to study whether climatic factors might justify gaps in the fossil record. Researchers are still trying to know the answer.

By: Anita Aishvarya




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