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-   -   Is an afro better at radiating heat than a bald head? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=71783)

Badtz Maru 05-22-2001 11:01 PM

The recently closed 'Blacks have extra muscles in their legs' thread in Great Debates got me thinking about what physical traits an individual could have that would give them an advantage in different skills, and the only one that doesn't show up in all 'races' is the afro. I'd read that the reason between the differences in hair was because the tightly curled hair absorbs sweat and holds it close to the head, cooling it by evaporation, while straighter hair tends to insulate the head and keep the head warmer. Since most endurance sports don't take place in the cold having hair that radiates heat rather than retaining it could provide a real advantage.

Could this natural disadvantage that most people of non-African descent have be overcome? Would shaving your head bald allow your scalp to cool blood as efficiently as wearing a short afro? Could some kind of hair treatment like a perm change the properties of non-kinky hair to the point where it would provide these same benefits?

Badtz Maru 05-22-2001 11:04 PM

I meant to say "doesn't show up commonly in all 'races' is the afro." I am aware of exceptions, have even known a couple, but it's rare.

Rue DeDay 05-23-2001 06:11 AM

If hair is like bird's feathers, the "afro" would keep the head cooler under the hot African sun. Whereas white people have to wear the geeky pith helmet so as not to have our brains bake.


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