Adorjan, A.S. and Kolenosky, G.B. (1969). A Manual for the Identification of Hairs of Selected Ontario Mammals. Research Branch Ontario Dept. of Lands and Forests.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: Intro lists four main clues: 1) size (length and width) of hair, 2) color, esp banding 3) site of geographical origin and 4) source, such as den entry, scat, fence etc.  Strength is the images of guard hairs at three locations: base, middle and tip.  Also have an image of each underfur.  Emphasis on the back and side hairs, mentions challenge of variation from different parts of the body.  Color descriptions are also good.  Weakness in that medulla and other features (including width and medullary index) are not considered.  Inconsistent data reported, for example, sometimes there is a lot of detail about lengths of guard hairs, and sometimes only a little.  Sometimes length of underfur is not given.  Sometimes detail on color is given, sometimes not.  Hard to compare without all the data.  Guard hair measurements are often very similar to those found in the ASM samples, and many of the Canadian animals are our Alaskan animals.  Good history of hair ID to date. They reject the idea of a key because of the often-changing scale pattern. 

Appleyard, H.M. (1978)  Guide to the Identification of Animal Fibers. Wool industries Research Association. Leeds 1978.

Lauren Horelick’s notes: Source is intended as a laboratory manual describing forty-nine different animal species broadly/commonly used in textile industry with some novel additions. The source contains an excellent glossary of terms and many photomicrographs of whole mount, cross-section and scale cast images.  Accompanying images are descriptions of the medulla, pigment distribution of the whole mount in addition to information about how the samples look in cross-section.  An effort is made to describe the scale patterns from root to base. Author made the scale casts in a 3% solution of gelatin in water, and the casts appear quite successful. Alternative methods of creating scale casts, cross section and mounting the whole fiber are also provided. Alaskan mammals represented include Bison, beaver, bear (unknown genus), domestic cattle, dog, deer (unknown genus), fox (Vulpes vulpes), hare (unknown genus),Kolinsky ( mink), martin ( Martes martes), marmot (unknown genus),mink, muskrat, reindeer, sable, seal (pinnipedia family), squirrel ( genus sciurus), stoat ( Mustela ermine), weasel (Mustela nivalis), and wolf. 

Bachrach, Max (1953)  Fur: A Practical Treatise.  Third edition (first edition was 1930) Prentice-Hall Inc New York.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: Claims that colder climates make the guard hairs longer and silkier, but the skin is thinner and weaker.  Wet winters give better guard hair quality.  Four classes of pelteries: furs (from furbearers), skins (goats and kids), pelts (sheep and lambs) and hides (cattles and horses.)    Bachrach thinks seasonal changes effect scales.  Elaborate description of how measurements are made and values determined for pelteries.  Detailed description of furs during certain seasons or geographies and what a prime fur is like.  Alaska has two pelteries: coastal regions and interior areas near Yukon Territory.  The interior pelteries are small but the animals have excellent color and very long fur.  “The natives are noted for their method of handling these pelteries.  They pull them out in the length with a wide tail spread on the lower end.  This is known in the trade as fish-handled.”  Heavy, greasy skins are good for dyeing.  A “hungry pelt” absorbs too much dyestuff and can cause weakened leather.  Winter caught animals have a darker color, and spring caught animals have a reddish cast. Density and strength of underfur holds guard hairs erect and can give the fur a bushy or fluffy quality (coyote, for example).  Otter and mink are the only aquatic weasels. Of the hair seals (phocidae) the only useful ones for the fur trade are the harp and the hooded seals (don’t occur in Alaska.)  Chewing skin can force fats into the fibers as a form of dressing the leather.  A “skin stamp” is a needle punch mark to identify the pelt during dressing.  You must scrape off the fat and the thin membrane of flesh.  If you cut off the socket/roots which anchor the hairs, they’ll slide out and you will have a bald spot.  Skin must be soaked in tanning fluid to swell the fibers and coat the fibrils with salts or oils to prevent adhesion and rot.  In the salt acid and pickle method (NaCl and sulfuric acid) the acid causes the skin to swell so the salt can penetrate.  If a grain like barley or wheat bran/rye is used the idea is to cause fermentation so the lactic acid can swell the skin.  Mineral tans usually involve aluminum.  Aluminum sulfate can cause a stiff leather.  Formaldehyde tans are usually used in combination with other methods.  Alum and chrome are often combined.  Vegetable tans are not used as much with furs because these tannings have dyeing properties.   Chamois is made with oil tannages like seal oil or cod liver oil.  If some parts of the skin dry faster during dressing, the upper epidermis will peel.  Drumming is sawdust first removes excess moisture.  Dust is removed by spanking or blowing air.  Tramping involves forcing oil into the skin by stomping in a vat, which makes both heat and friction.  Pelts are mechanically sheared by blowing the hair aside and cutting with a rotating series of knives.There are two kinds of dying: top blending (tipping) or saturation.  “Killing” is removing oily substances with an alkaline solution such as urine.  Urea is made from ammonia in air.  Mordants for dying include dilute aluminum, chromium, iron, copper or tin.  These combine with dyestuffs to make insoluble dye pigments.  Can’t easily put killing substances with mordants at the same time because it is too harsh.  The text has lots of additional information on dyes, bleaching, and chemistry.  White fox and ermine must be kept from the”actinic” rays of light which will cause them to yellow.  (Actinic seems to refer to a property of a material that exposure to light will cause a chemical change.) He examines hair mostly at 400X, and describes the medulla of carnivores as “netlike.”  Says the medulla in rodents is “pocket shaped” or saccate.  Larger air spaces in the medulla of cold-weather animals helps insulate them?  High humidity causes some furs to mat and felt.  Arid, low RH can cause breakage, shedding, and peeling of the epidermis as well as cracking and breaking of the dermis.  Categorizes fur into “serviceability” according to how well the fur wears and how long it will last.  Descriptions of the marketing of furs worldwide and what the audience is for each fur (what garments they are used for.)  Appendix describes the legal rules for fur product labeling. 

Barnes, R.J. (1985). Studies in the Optical Properties of Wool, Hair and Related Fibres. University of Leeds Library.

Batcheller, J.C. (2005). “Optical and Scanning Electron Microscopy Techniques for the Determination of Hair Fibres from Romano-Egyptian Textiles” in Wyeth, P. (ed.). Scientific Analysis of Ancient and Historic Textiles: Informing Preservation, Display and Interpretation. Archetype Publications Ltd. pp. 51-56.

Bekker, J.G. and King, A.T. (1931 Jun.). “Sulphur Distribution in the Component Structures of Wool and Porcupine Quills.”  The Chemical Laboratories, The Wool Industries Research Association, pp. 1077-1080.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: medulla cells have almost no sulfur, so hairs with a medulla have a substantially lower sulfur content than those without a medulla.

Belleli, T. (1982 May). “Some Special Animal Fibers.” Industrie Textile, No. 1122. pp. 423-426 [French].

Blankenburg, G., Muller, M., Philippen, H., and Zahn, H. (1973). “Identification of Horse Hair and Bovine Hair on the Bases of Different Chemical and Physical Characteristics.” Melliand Textilberichte-International 54, No. 3. pp.198-203 [German].

Ellen Carrlee’s notes (from abstract) Three types distinguished by a combination of tyrosine analysis, fiber diameter measurement, and pigment distribution.

Blazej, Anton, Antonin Glaltik, Jan Galatik, Zdislav Krul, and Milan Mladek.  (1989) Atlas of Microscopic Structures of Fur Skins.  Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: this volume seems to be precursor to the Furskin website  on the internet.  The morphological features examined are: skin surface, shape of the upper part of the follicle, number of hairs in each follicle, cross section, scale pattern, and medulla.  Rich with images, mostly European animals, and similar strengths and weaknesses to the Furskin website

Boulton, Ann. (1986) “The Examination, Treatment and Analysis of a Pair of Boots from the Aleutian Islands Including a Note about Possible Pesticide Contamination.”  Journal of the American Institute for Conservation Vol 25 No 1. Pp 1-13.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: She could not find an ID key for Arctic hairs.  Did 40X, PLM, and scale casts in various media.  Caribou hair “pitted” like an orange peel in low magnification, hollow and brittle so collapsed and flattened in some areas.  Similar to mountain goat, mule deer, and moose hair.  Hairs for embroidery come from the bell under the neck and are white and ruff-like.  Seal hair looks translucent and shiny under magnification, as if wet, and the only arctic animal she sees this on is otter.  Seal guard hair is nearly flat in cross section.  Polar bear hair is long and white, and the only other arctic animals she sees this on are caribou and human.  Caribou has no medulla, and human medulla is not continuous and sometimes even absent as well as usually a third of the total diameter or less.  Polar bear medulla is at least half the shaft diameter.   

Brown, F.M. (1942). “The Microscopy of Mammalian Hair for Anthropologists.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. Vol. 85, No. 3. pp. 250-274.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: mentions that age of the animal is irrelevant.  Does not cover pinnipedia.  Dry mounted slides are best for the study of scales, he likes mounting medium for looking at medulla and pigment structures.  He likes 40X the best.  Oil immersion can help with study of pigment granules.  Raking light helps to see scales, and a combo of low powered objective and high powered oculars gives a better depth of field for studying the scales.  Cross sections are useful in rare cases.  While most hairs tend to be narrower at the two ends, a rapid change in diameter is useful information. Spear or paddle-shaped hair is common to otters and some mustelidae.  Follows Hausman’s nomenclature.  Scale index is a ratio of the length of the visible portion of the scale divided by the diameter of the shaft.  Can only be applied when hairs of the same diameter are compared.  If the cortex is thin, the hair will be brittle.  Artiodactyla often have a thin cortex with a medulla filled with large cells.  Pigment can be found in the scales and medulla as well as the more typical location in the cortex.  Can be especially diagnostic for rodents.  Hairs longer than an inch are rare on rodents.  Hairs under an inch are rare on Artiodactyla except on the face.  Determination to species level is difficult. Several guard hairs and fur hairs are needed for good ID, Brown prefers about 20 hairs. Chart of shaft diameter, MI, scale index and pigment info for several genus.  Says Mustelidae are difficult to differentiate from other Carnivora.

Brunn, M. (2005). Fur Trade Legacy, the Preservation of Organic Materials: Preprints from the Workshop at the Canadian Association for Conservation of Cultural Property, 31st Annual Conference, Jasper, Alberta, 17-18 May 2005. Canadian Association for Conservation of Cultural Property.

Brunner, Hans and Brian J. Coman.  (1974) The Identification of Mammalian Hair.  Inkata Press. Melbourne.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: lots of images, many cross sections.  Not a lot of text.  Each animal includes a little line drawing of what the hair might look like lying on the page.  For each animal, it gives a “most diagnostic feature”

Brunner, Hans, B. Triggs and Ecobyte (2002) Hair ID, An Interactive Tool for identifying Australian Mammalian Hair Version 1.0  CSRIO Publishing, Melbourne Australia.  Update 1.0 September 2004. 

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: only overlaps with Alaskan mammals seems to be red fox and domestic cow and sheep.  CD costs a couple hundred dollars. 

Chakraborty, R., S. Chakraborty, and J.K. De. (1999) “Identification of Dorsal Guard Hairs of the Species of Indian Lesser Cats (Carnivora: Felidae)”  Mammalia Vol. 65 No 1.  pp 93-104.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: Toth 2002 describes how the authors used differences in side-to-side (SS) and proximo-distal scale length (PD) can be used to segregate certain kind of cats from India. 

Chernova, O.F. (2000). “Architectonics of the Medulla of Guard Hair and Its Importance for Identification of Taxa.”  Doklady Biological Sciences, Vol. 376. pp. 569-573.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: First, determine if the medulla is present or absent.  If it is present, determine if it is aeriform (does it have air spaces or gaps) or non-aeriform. If it is aeriform, determine if it is a ladder as we see in rabbits, or non-ladder as we see in most other things.  If it is non-ladder, determine if it is columnar or not (most are not) and then move on to thick walled or thin walled.  Rodentia, Carnivora and Artiodactyla are thin-walled.  Beyond that, it doesn’t appear that the technique in this article is very helpful, and certainly it is more difficult to see the medulla with PLM than it is to see it with SEM.  I was only able to see page one and figure one of this article, the flowchart for ID by medullary type.

—. (2001). “Architectonic and Diagnostic Significance of Hair Cortex and Medulla.” Biological Bulletin, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp. 63-73.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: great info on microstructure of hair…for example, the cortical layer has a composite structure where filaments are arranged in bundles and embedded in the matrix, and this structure determines the mechanical properties of the hair.  Sometimes mean cortex width is diagnostic.  I was only able to see the first page, the rest of the article might be useful.

—. (2005 Mar.). “One More Example of Morphological Convergence: Similarity Between the Architectonics of Feather and Hair.” Doklady Biological Sciences, Vol. 405. pp. 446-450.

Cowan, I. and Raddi, A.G. (1972 May). “Pelage and Molt in the Black-Tailed Deer.” Canadian Journal of Zoology. Vol. 50, No. 2. pp. 639-647.

Ellen Carrlee’s Notes from abstract: four pelages: natal, juvenile, adult summer and adult winter.  Spring molt involves guard hair follicles only with underfur shed by breakage.  Autumn molt involves all follicles.  Guard hairs increase in diameter from birth to adult winter pelage.  Adult summer pelage has the longest guard hair.  Color banding is the same sequence of four colors but different variations in the four pelages and on different areas of the body, with the most pronounced differences on different body areas of fawns. 

Curl, Angela M. and Jakes, Kathryn A.  (2003)  “Optical Microscopy Techniques for Examination of Alpaca Hair Fibers: Application to Archaeological Textiles.”  Textile Specialty Group Postprints Vol. 13.  AIC annual meeting Arlington VA June 2003.

Lauren Horelick’s notes: Sample preparation and the use of differential interference contrast (DIC) to examine fiber scale casts, cross-sections and whole mounts is discussed, where the authors claim that examination with DIC greatly improves observation of both internal and external features of fibers. The article does not fully describe how DIC works, only that it improves visibility of hard-to-see features. Article also provides an in-depth discussion of the morphology of Alpaca hair fibers where a variation was seen between fine and coarse hairs of the same species. The Appendix provides detailed steps to created cross-sections, scale casts, and preparing whole fiber mounts.

Dau, J, H.V. Goldman, B. Forbes, and G. Kofinas.  “Managing Reindeer and Wildlife on Alaska’s Seward Peninsula.”  Polar Research Vol. 19 No 1. Pp.57-62

Day, M.G. (1066) “Identification of Hair and Feather Remains in the Gut and Faeces of Stoats and Weasels.” Journal of Zoology Vol. 148.  pp. 201-217

Dearborn, Ned.  (1920) “Sections Aid in Identifying Hair”  Journal of Mammology. 20.  pp. 346-348.

Deedrick, Douglas W. and Sandra L. Koch.  (July 2004) “Microscopy of Hair Part II: A Practical Guide and Manual for Animal Hairs.”  Forensic Science Communications.  Vol. 6 No. 3.  (available on the internet)

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: Has useful drawings and descriptions of terms, and a few images that are more illustrative of principles than actual aids in identification.  Mostly useful as an introductory text, wonderful that it is on the web. Mentions the use of the Polaroid film-print coater that some folks use for scale casts.

DeMouthe, J.F. (2006). Natural Materials: Sources, Properties and Uses. Elsevier/Architectural Press.

Dove, C.J. and Peurach, S.C. (2002). “Microscopic Analysis of Feather and Hair Fragments Associated with Human Mummified Remains From Kagamil Island, Alaska.” Ethnographical Series, Vol. 20. pp. 51-62.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: Identifies certain mammals found in an Aleutian artifact down to the family level, but not genus/species.  Useful info on certain seal hair characteristics and the reasoning behind how they arrived at the identification for certain hairs.  Easy to read with straightforward vocabulary.

Erlich, H.A., Higuchi, R, Sensabaugh, G., and von Beroidingen, C.H. (1988 Apr.). “DNA Typing From Single Hairs.” Nature, Vol. 332, No. 7. pp. 543-546.


Ellen Carrlee’s notes: Animal fibers on this site are limited to alpaca, cashmere, rabbit, wool and silk.  Sheep is the given wool.  Images are watermarked.

Forsyth, Adrian.  (1999) Mammals of North America Temperate and Arctic Regions.  Firefly Books.  Buffalo.

Franchi, M., Manelli, A., Raspanti, M. and Ruggeri, A. (2005 Oct.). “The 3D Structure of Crimps in the Rat Achilles Tendon.” Matrix Biology, Vol. 24, No. 7, pp. 503-507.

FURSKIN (2006)  http://www.furskin.

Ellen Carrlee’s Notes:  Czech website offers SEM images of hairs and follicles of European mammals along with a numerical coding to calculate a most likely identification.  For many of the animals, the data provided is inconsistent (measurements of hair length are not always given, for example) and the numbers given are often outliers compared to other sources for Alaskan animals.  Medullary index is not given.  On some animals where the medulla does not appear in all samples of underfur, the site sometimes suggests a medulla does not appear at all. Strengths include images of scale patterns and a lot of detail about the medulla.

Goodway, M. (1987). “Fiber Identification in Practice.” Journal of American Institute for Conservation, Vol. 26, No. 1, Article 3. pp. 27-44.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: Author focuses more on plant fibers than animal fibers.  Does not like scale casting or cross sectioning, preferring to gain that info through the microscope including “optical sectioning” by focusing up and down through the fiber at high magnification.  Laments that many keys limit themselves to the longest guard hairs at the midline of the animal’s back, and that underfurs are quite similar.  She mentions that caribou fur is warmer than seal but doesn’t cite a source.

Hall, E.R. (1981) The Mammals of North America.  Vol II.  Second Edition.  John Wiley and Sons.  New York.

Haojing, Y. (1988 Feb.) “Investigation on Structure and Properties of Rabbit Hair.”  Zhongguo Fangzhi Daxue Xuebao 9, No.2. pp.52-55 [Chinese].

Hausman, Leon Augustus.  (1920) “Structural Characteristics of the Hair of Mammals” American Naturalist.  34. Pp. 496-523.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: Oyer 1946 says he focuses on the structure of the commercial fur-bearing mammals in order to determine the economic values of their hair.

Heyn, A.N.J. (1954) Fiber Microscopy: A Textbook and Laboratory Manual.  Interscience Publishers Inc New York.

Hicks, John W.  (1977) Microscopy of Hairs, A Practical Guide and Manual.  Washington  accessed 1/5/2011

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: Great intro as a first book to look at regarding hair ID.  Divided into four sections: 1) Hair structure, especially human hair 2) Animal hairs 3) report writing and testimony 4) using the microscope.  Describes scale shapes as spinous/petal like or imbricate/flattened.  Describes medulla shape as uniserial, multiserial, vacuolated, lattice, or amorphous.  Under the microscope, the medulla is usually air-filled and will look black under transmitted light and white under reflected light.  If the medulla is filled with the mounting medium, it will look clear or translucent in transmitted light and almost invisible in reflected light.  This seems like it might be a clue to helping know if you are looking at air or pigment making a medulla dark….He says that cortical fusi are irregularly-shaped and more often found near the root of a hair, while ovoid structures are large with regular margins.  Even in his photos, I found that difficult to see.  Pigment is present only in immature root?  By the time a hair shed naturally, the pigment is no longer in the root?  Interesting list of things that have been found useless or not reliable:  cannot tell gender of a human from hair, scale count (rather like thread count) is not useful, refractive index is not useful, scale index (length of the scale between margins compared to the overall diameter of the shaft) as mentioned by Hausman circa 1930 is not useful. Hicks also distinguishes between three types of hair for ID: deer family, commercial and domestic.  Deer family is indicated mostly be the honeycomb medulla, the constant diameter, the wineglass-shaped root and the wave or crimp of the overall guard hair.  Commercial furbearers are identified mostly by color, banding, scale and medulla.  Domestic animals usually have no banding and the medulla is amorphous, leaving the root shape, medulla and pigment as the most useful criteria.  I think he is taking some of his published measurements from the Moore et al 1974 reference, since the correlation of data is too perfect to be coincidence?


Ellen Carrlee’s notes:  Accessed Dec 2010, animals with PLM and a few SEM images included:  antelope, beaver, black angus, Hereford, black bear, cat, deer, dog, elk, grey fox, human, mink, muskrat, opossum, rabbit, raccoon, red fox, skunk, squirrel.  Few of the images have scale bars, measurements not given.  Scale casts given.

Jones, D.N. (1961) “Hair and Fur Identification.” Journal of the Forensic Science Society, Vol. 1 Issue 2 March 1961. Page 107

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: seems to occur as a “review” in this journal, but I cannot find a book with this title.  Does that mean this is a review of the science to date?

Kennedy, A.J. (1982) “Distinguishing Characteristics of the Hair of Wild and Domestic Canids from Alberta.”  Canadian Journal of Zoology.  Vol. 60 pp. 536-541

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: Author compared coyote, wolf, dog, and red fox.  He says wolf and coyote cannot be distinguished from each other.  Red fox length, color, tip region, banding, and scale pattern near the base are distinctive enough for ID.  Dog hair is identified by length and scale pattern near the base of the hair.  Some characteristics are different between Alberta canids and eastern canids.  He was examining color, texture, total length, band number, band length and tip length.  Total length was taken from the root base of the hair.  Underfur was not found useful.  Cross sections were used, and made with quick freezing in a histological block and cutting with a cryostat.  Kennedy also makes a distinction between banded hair and merely bicolored or tricolored hair.  He defined banding as having clear demarcation on both ends of the band, (after Moore et al 1974).   

Kennedy, T., and Langley, K. (1981 Nov.). “The Identification of Specialty Fibers.” Textile Research Journal. pp.703-709.

Kite, Marion.  (2007) “Furs and Furriery: History, Techniques and Conservation.”  Conservation of Leather and Related Materials.  Marion Kite and Roy Thomson, editors.  Butterworth-Heinemann London. Pp. 141-168.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: Greater focus on European furs than ours, but lots of useful info.  Keratin is hydrophobic, and preserves skin from direct contact with water.  Fur is a “hard” keratin containing more than 3% sulfur.  Gloss/luster depends on degree of light reflectance which is influences by the scale structure (how smooth they are) and whether the fibers are straight and parallel to each other.  Some hoofed animals, like reindeer, have no cortex and a thin cuticle, which makes the hair brittle. Discussion of fur industry, and description of some sewing and manufacturing techniques to make fur into garments.  List of “Some fashionable furs and dates” starting with the late middle ages.  Descriptions of furrier-specific techniques, such as pointing when badger hairs were glued into fox fur to simulate the look of natural silver fox.  Mentions that fur seal was popularized around 1847. 

Koonz, C.H. and E.J. Strandine.  (1945) “A Rapid and Simplified Method for Revealing the Surface Pattern of Hair.”  Transactions of the American Microscope Society.  64. pp.63-64.

Korber- Grohne, Udelgard  “Microscopic Methods for Identification of Plant Fibres and Animal Hairs from the Prince’s Tomb of Hochdorf, Southwest Germany.”  Journal of Archaeological Science.  Vol 15 1988 pp.73-82

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: Preservation of hair/fur good in dry or freezing conditions, manure layers, low pH bogs.  Celtic burial mound here mad moderately moist to dry conditions, and some direct contact with bronze, iron etc.  Found textiles of sheep’s wool, horse hair, and badger, with furs of badger and weasel or martin.  Cuticle was not well preserved, even examined with SEM.  One sample of horsehair in contact with an iron hook retained the scale pattern for examination.  Treatment of hairs with KOH was needed in some cases to reveal diagnostic features. 

Kronthal, L. (1994). “Identification and Conservation of Quillwork and Hollow Hair Embroidery” in Montegut, D. (ed.). The Treatment and Handling of Textiles with Associated Problematic Materials: Preprints of the Second Biannual Symposium: the Textile Conservation Group, October 6-7, 1994. Textile Conservation Group. pp.111-134

Kusch, P. and W. Arns (1983 Jun). “Electron Scan Microscopic Investigations to Distinguish  Between Sheep Wool and Goat Hair (e.g. Mohair).” Melliand Textilberichte-International Textile Reports 12. pp. 417-419.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes (from abstract) Scale edge thickness of sheep’s wool can be helpful in distinguishing it from goat, especially mohair.

Mathiak, H.A. (1938 Oct.) “A Key to Hairs of the Mammals of Southern Michigan.” Journal of Wildlife Management, Vol. 2, No. 4. pp. 251-268.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: His illustrations are drawings, and there are serial cross sections that go from left to right.  On mammals who change color in the winter, white is a color change in pigmentation and does not affect the gross structure of medulla, scale pattern etc.  Pigment is not a great thing to depend on, as size and color of the granules can vary a lot and pigment sometimes deteriorates with weathering or exposure to digestive juices.  The color on different part of an animal may vary, but the hairs are usually similar in structure.  Head hairs are sometimes considerably flattened and of greater diameter than any of the body hairs.  Medulla often includes shrunken cells of irregular shape, air spaces and pigments.  Masses of pigment in the medulla may make it look continuous at first glance.  Erose medulla is found in guard hairs of many rodents. (This is when the edge of the medulla is bumpy looking)  Some medulla are fragmental and made of unconnected sections of varying length.  “Rodent base” refers to the erose (bumpy-edged) continuous medulla with lots of pigments and alternating masses of melanin that look like they are compound medulla but are not.    This is rather checker-board looking.  Imbricate scale extends part way around the shaft, while coronal scales go all the way around.  Tactile hairs=whiskers=vibrissae are the only hairs that taper all the way from base to tip.  Medulla often lacking in these hairs.  They are similar in structure on different species and rarely useful in identification.  Guard hairs often closely spaced and flat, giving a high luster.  Pigment in underfur is usually limited to the medulla, but sometimes also in the cortex.  Hair structure does not always follow taxonomic relationships.  Sometimes it does look similar, though…genus Mustela are very similar except in size.  For example, a 40mm hair is way too long to ever be least weasel.  Guard hair are better for ID not just because of additional features and ease of handling, but also because they are less damaged by digestive juices,  One micron is 1/1000 of a millimeter.  Dirty hairs can be washed in a volatile, grease dissolving reagent like alcohol, ether, ro carbon tetrachloride.  Deer hair has irrecularly polygonal chambers in the medulla.  Only for a few animals is the scale form the way to ID the hair with certainty.  In these cases it is the scale form near the base that is most important. 

Mathiak, H.A. (1938) “A Rapid Method of Cross-Sectioning Mammalian Hairs”  Journal of Wildlife Management Vol 2 pp 162-164.

MacDonald, S. O. and J. A. Cook. (2009). Recent Mammals of Alaska. University of Alaska Press, Fairbanks. 387pp.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: This book has really excellent maps of not only the expected range of mammals (shown as shaded areas) but more importantly where they have actually been documented (with dots, including a special dot for type specimens).  The book is about where the animals are found, who first described them, what their habitat is, and a little bit about the fossil record.  There isn’t much on measurements or physical descriptions at all and nothing about how the animals are used culturally.  It lists several animals not included in the Alaska Fur ID Project because they have so rarely been seen in Alaska.  The term “recent” in the title seems to refer to animals that are seen in Alaska in the present day, as opposed to prehistoric or extinct animals.  There is a section in the beginning listing the earliest written lists of Alaskan mammals (ie William Dall, 1870, Frank Dufresne 1946, Gerritt Miller 1924) and other important early texts.  This is also an excellent place to get a feel for where Alaskan mammal collections are kept.  For example, the MVZ at the University of California Berkeley seems to have a lot of type specimens.  Wooly Mammoth is mentioned as Mammuthus primigenius.

Mayer, W.V. (1952). “Hair of California Mammals with Keys to the Dorsal Guard Hairs of California Mammals.” American Midland Naturalist 48, No. 2. pp. 480-512.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes; overview of the history of hair ID under the microscope up to that point.  Description of one kind of scale index, using the proximo-distal length of the scale in relation to the entire width of the shaft at that point.  Mayer feels that examining cuticular scale pattern is time consuming and not all that useful for identification.  He samples mid-back (dorsal) between nose and tail and mid-side (ventral) between nose and tail.  Uses maximum measurements to avoid confusion caused by overlapping when averages are used.  Brown’s 1942 measurements are almost always bigger than Mayer’s and Mayer says this is due to the part of the body that Brown may have selected from. Samples taken with forceps gripping at the base of several hairs and quick hard pull.  Cleaned with carbon tetrachloride and mounted in balsam.  44X objective and 10X ocular preferred.  Scale casting method using Hardy and Plitt 1940 technique of Ethocell transparent thermoplastic film by Dow, clamping hair between two layers with wooden blocks and C-clamps, and heating to 90C for 20 minutes.  Guard hairs on other areas of the body resemble the dorsal hairs closely enough to be identified, but have variation in size, pigment and other minor characteristics. 

Meeks, N.D. and C.R. Cartwright (2005). “Caribou and Seal Hair: Examination by Scanning Electron Microscopy” in King, J.C.H., Pauksztat, B. and Storrie, R. (eds.). Arctic Clothing of North America – Alaska, Canada, Greenland. McGill-Queen’s University Press. pp. 42-44.

Ellen Carrlee’s Notes: Excellent description and SEM images of caribou guard hair structure.  Less compelling descriptions of seal hair, and frustrating that they do not identify the exact kind of seal they are looking at or even distinguish between Phocidae and Otariidae.  However, the mention of medulla suggests the Northern Fur Seal, which is the only Alaskan seal with a medulla.  The problem is that this seal is not often used by Native people.  The suggestion that the scale overlap is the reason this fur is chosen for waterproof applications is flawed, since most mammal fur of all kinds has overlapping scales.

Moore, Tommy D., Liter E. Spence, and Charles E. Dugnolle.  (1974) “Identification of the Dorsal Guard Hairs of Some Mammals of Wyoming.”  Ed Hepworth, William G.  Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Bulletin No 14.  Reprinted 1997.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: Preface supports our opinions that simple matching-up to photomicrographs is inadequate, and a whole range of clues needs to be considered as no single measurement methods reveals a secure ID.  91 species are given. Most hair is summer or fall pelage, and few of winter which is interesting because fall and winter pelts are often of the better quality for making into artifacts.  Tried to collect 25-100 hairs from several individuals when possible.  Seems that getting to genus is pretty secure, but distinguishing between species is harder.  The term bicolored hair is distinct from banded in the distinctness of the color change.  Authors recommend collecting data for banding, cross-section shape, shield, length, medulla conformation, medulla width, pigment density, shape of base, maximum diameter, scale pattern, scale margin, and distances between scales.  Groupings of animals are presented though dichotomous keys.  Greatest emphasis seems to be placed on the banding of the hairs to make secure ID.  No attention paid to underfur in most cases.  Alan Kennedy’s paper on canids suggests Moore et al understate the variability present in canid hair.

Oyer, E.R. (1946). “Identification of Mammals from Studies of Hair Structure.” Transactions Kansas Academy of Science, Vol. 49, No. 2. pp. 155-160.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes; focus on small mammals like rabbits, mice, shrews, bats, squirrels, rats, pocket gophers and skunks.  Tested using acids, bases, dyes, boiling water to try to enhance the scale pattern and reduce the amount of pigmentation, but without success.  He did think that putting a piece of amber cellophane over the mirror of the microscope enhanced the scale pattern, as did use of raking light.  Article includes drawings of scale patterns and medulla.

Petraco, Nicholas and Thomas Kubic.  (2004) Color Atlas and Manual of Microscopy for Criminologists, Chemists and Conservators.  CRC Press.  New York. 

Ellen Carrlee’s Notes: Mostly useful for introducing hair structure and basic methods of identification, along with some definitions of terminology. Includes some great checklists and worksheet templates.

Quick, Horace .F. 1952 “Some Characteristics of Wolverine Fur”  Journal of Mammology Vol. 33 No 4 pp492-493

Ellen Carrlee’s Notes: Once frost has accumulated on wolf or coyote fur, it cannot be easily brushed off, but it can be easily brushed off of wolverine.  Native use of wolverine is not exclusively for this reason, it also has to do with its rareness and beauty.  Description of 1948 fur traders in Canada’s Mackenzie River area buying wolverine pelts for $12 and re-selling them to “barren land trading posts” where Eskimos paid up to $70 for a single pelt.  Wolf pelts bought initially for $1.50 were re-sold to Aklavik Eskimos (Canada’s NWT) for $35.00.

Rearden, Jim.  (1981) “Alaska Mammals”  Alaska Geographic Society Quarterly Vol 8 No 2   Anchorage.

Ryder, M.L. (1976). “Hair” Studies in Biology, No. 41.

Samet, Arthur (1950) Pictorial Encyclopedia of Furs. Carey Press Corporation,  New York. 

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: Author was in fur trade for some 25 years, appraiser for furriers and insurance companies, and taught fur in trade high schools.  Book is a good companion to Bachrach’s 1953 treatise, but not as pictoral as the title suggests.  In the hoofed fur trade, usually only the young are used.  Explanation of different lambs, fur formation, skin curing, manufacturing methods, fur matching business, geographic fur areas.  Mostly info about furrier trade, with helpful info about vocabulary in both the garment manufacture and trade names of animals.  No scientific names are given.  In this reference, “pelt” seems to refer to the skin part more than the fur part.  Lots of images of the skin sides of fur garments in manufacture.  Interesting 1936 map of the world shows Point Barrow as a principal collecting point for furs and the only one mentioned in Alaska.  Vancouver, Seattle, and Tacoma are the only other Western US locations marked, and they are described as fur auction points.  Admonition to avoid camphor, naphthalene and insecticides as they can harm dyed furs.

Scheffer, V.B. (1964 Sept). “Hair Patterns in Seals (Pinnipedia).” Journal of Morphology. Vol. 115, No. 2. pp. 291-301.

Short, H.L. (1978 May). “Analysis of Cuticular Scales on Hairs Using the Scanning Electron Microscope.” Journal of Mammalogy, Vol. 59, No. 2. pp.261-268.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: Alan J. Kennedy, in his canid paper of 1982, mentions that the variability in scale pattern is likely due to the changes in the diameter of the hair shaft from the base to the tip.  He attributes this to Short 1978 in the paper.

Smith, Sydney and John Glaister, Jr. (1931)  “The Medico-Legal Examination of Hairs.”  Chapter 5 of Recent Advances in Forensic Medicine.  P. Blakiston’s Son & Cop. Inc Philadelphia.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: The article gives generalized information about microscopic appearance of several families of animals: deer, Bovidae, Equidae, Rodentia, Felidae, Canidae, Mustelida, seal, Talipdae, and primates.  Deer hair is descirbes as a cellular network resembling snake or lizard skin and not seen in any other group.  In cows, the medulla may be absent, fragmental or complete in the coat hair, but is rarely present at all in the tail hairs.  Horse tail usually has a medulla.  Rodent medulla is broad and may almost fill the shaft.  The cells are large in number and small in size.  Beaver, marmot and squirrel are similar.  Muskrat looks a bit like rabbit.  Canid underfur should have a longer interval than felines between the serrations of the cuticular margins.  Mustelids are in two groupings based on the serrations on the scales.  Martins, ermines, minks, badgers and sables are grouped together. Otters and ferrets have a more extreme spiky contour.  Underfur of otters has no medulla.  Ermine, ferret and sable are similar to rabbits and have a fine irregular medulla margins.  Underfur of seals looks a lot like otter. Spiky scales with long yet regular intervals.  Tips quickly taper to form a fine tip on the seal guard hairs.  His images of marmot hair in cross section look rather like the flattened shape of a rubber band sitting on a table.

Stains, Howard J.  (1958) “Field Key to Guard Hair of Middle Western Furbearers.”  Journal of Wildlife Management.  22.  Pp 95-97.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: Key is for identifying hairs without a microscope.  Claims 85% of hairs identified without difficulty.  Less accurate when the animals are immature or the animal is albino or melanistic.  Truest colors can be seen if the hair is held against a light-blue background.  Beaver, woodchuck, coyote, red fox and mink are the only animals in the key that overlap with Alaskan species. 

Stephani, G. and Wortmann, F.J. (1985 Dec.). “Light Microscopic Characteristics of Different Angora Rabbit Hair Types.” Melliand Textilberichte-International Textile Reports 14, No. 12. p. 990.

Suzanski, T.W. (1989). “Dog Hair Comparison: Purebreds, Mixed Breeds, Multiple Questioned Hairs.” Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal, Vol. 22, No. 4. pp. 299-309.

Ellen Carrlee’s Notes: Seems to rely almost completely on color and banding.  Also looking at length, diameter, tip taper and root characteristics, especially the degree of pigmentation. 

Syred, A. (1991). “Microscopy of Mammalian Hair.” Microscopy and Analysis, No. 24. pp. 23-25.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: (from abstract) Hairs are solvent-cleaned, mounted in Euparal.  Color and internal structure mask the scales, so scale casts help.  Spreads 25% poly (vinyl alcohol) on microscope slides, positioning, and peeling off the hair.  For cross sections, he likes a steel shim with 0.6-0.8 diameter hole and a razor blade.  Most useful for large fiber samples. 

Teerink, B.J. (1991). Hair of West-European Mammals: Atlas and Identification Key. Cambridge University Press.

Ellen Carrlee’s Notes: Layout is fantastic.  Shows cross sections, medulla, and scale pattern as they relate to the macro.  There are images of the macro guard hair which reveals where the shield is, for example, as well as kinkiness or other such features, and then shows cross section, medulla, and scale pattern, but links those to the exact point on the hair where those images were taken.  In this way, his work is superior to the work we are doing on the Alaska Fur ID, but there are only a handful of animals we have in common: muskrat, beaver, red squirrel, red fox, dog, short tailed weasel, least weasel.   

Tόth, M. (2002). “Identification of Hungarian Mustelidae and Other Small Carnivores Using Guard Hair Analysis.” Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, Vol. 48, No. 3. pp. 237-250.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: Otter and badger differ significantly from other mustelids, but differentiating the others required statistical analysis.  Weasels are especially hard to distinguish.  At publication, it was still under debate whether hair characteristics are distinct enough to play a role in taxonomy.  He used a minimum of five individuals and approximately 20 hairs from each, giving a sampling of about 100 hairs for each species.  He cleaned his samples with 60% alcohol followed by ether to clean them of grease and dust.  Preferred magnification was 400X measurements taken with ocular micrometer.  The abstract includes this: “SPSS Hierarchical Cluster Analysis was used to develop Dendrograms representing Average Linkage as a function of length, maximal diameter, medulla/total, maximal diameter ratio at the thickest part of the shield between the ten small carnivore species investigated.  The Mann-Whitney statistical test was used to compare the mean value of the characters.”  Cross sections were taken by fitting the hair in elderpith or other flexible twigs and then cutting with a razor, sometimes after freezing it first.  Toth tried Chakraborty’s method of comparing side-to-side scale length and proximo-distal scale length, but found that it was not useful for mustelids.  While many factors show a lot of variance and overlap, statistical analysis can help and requires at least 20 intact guard hairs.

Tumlison, R. (1983 Aug.). “An Annotated Key to the Dorsal Guard Hairs of Arkansas Game Mammals and Furbearers.” Southwestern Naturalist 28, no 3. pp. 315-323.

Ellen Carrlee’s notes: Cleans hairs with carbon tetrachloride or 70% ethanol for an hour and then soaked in toluene for a day to allow “clearing and infiltration.”  Color patterns were viewed with a 10X dissecting microscope, reflected light and a light blue background.  Used the average (mean) width of shaft since maximum width occurred on only longest dorsal guard hairs and therefore did not represent a “normal” hair.

Turner, G. (1976). Hair Embroidery in Siberia and North America. Pitt Rivers Museum.

Wildman, A.B.  “The Microscopy of Animal Fibres.”  Wool Industries Research Association.  Leeds.  1954

Williamson, V.H.H. (1951) “Determination of Hairs by Impressions.”  Journal of Mammology  22.  pp. 80-84.

Woodford, Riley. (2010)  Personal communication with Ellen Carrlee

Discussion of fishers and sampling of one belonging to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Woodford, Riley (2006) “Are Fishers Moving into Alaska?” ADF&G/Alaska Fish and Wildlife News– May 2006

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