The hair of mammals varies in diameter across species from 60 mm in humans to over 400 mm in giraffes and elephants. Here, we establish that the tensile strength of hair generally decreases with increasing diameter. Although there is a commonality in the morphology of the hair in such differing species as they all possess a cortex surrounded by cuticles, there are also significant differences in the hierarchical structure that contribute to the observed differences in strength. In this work, the internal structure of the hair from different species is examined, with some unique peculiarities in javelina and capybara hair uncovered.
The dimensional dependence of hair strength is compared using Weibull predictions. The good correlation of the strength of hair using such Weibull analysis suggests that the failure strength is dictated by the probability distribution of flaws within the cortex.