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Polar bear insulating hair. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a cross-section through shafts of insulating hair from a polar bear (Ursus maritimus). This has revealed the hollow structure of the hair that gives it its insulating properties. The hollow in the centre of the hair contains air, which is not a good conductor of heat. This insulates the polar bear from the extreme cold of its Arctic habitat. The air also helps to prevent the hair matting, which helps the polar bear shake itself dry. The hair is also oily to repel water. Insulating hair forms a coarse outer hair layer over underhair. Magnification x1150 (x285 at 10cm wide).
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