Original paper

Age, Gender and Caste Variations in Scalp Hair Micro-Morphological Variables among Brahmins and Banias of Punjab,India

Gaur, Rajan;Angrish, Isha; Bansal, Savita Rani


A cross-sectional sample of 3136 scalp hair drawn from 392 individuals aged 10 to 60 years and belonging to the Bania(n=201)and Brahmin(n=191)caste groups of Punjab State of India were examined for diameters of hair shaft and medulla,scale count,medulla type,hair index,medullary index and scale-count index,employing standard procedures. The mean hair shaft diameter,medullary diameter,incidence of medullation and scale-count index was higher in males,while the mean scale count was higher in females. However,with a few exceptions,the gender differences were not statistically significant(p<0.05). The Brahmins showed significantly(p<0.05)higher mean values of hair shaft diameter and scale count than the Banias. The mean scale-count index was higher among the Banias. The fragmentary medulla was the most common medullary type among the Banias,while the continuous medulla was the most frequent type of medulla among the Brahmins. The frequency of medullation was significantly more among the Banias. On the average,the hair shaft diameter and diameter of medulla increased up to 30 years. Some age variations in medullation were noticed in both the caste groups. No clear age trend was noticeable in the scale count. By and large,the mean hair shaft diameter of the Banias was less than that of other populations. The mean hair shaft diameter of the Brahmin males was greater than that of the Banias,the Onges,and the Bengalees. The Brahmin females showed greater mean hair shaft diameter than that of the Banias,the Australian Aborigines,the Juangs and the Onges. Human scalp hair shows some age,gender and population variations in micro-morphological variables which have the potential of being useful for anthropological and forensic investigations.


Hair diametermedullary diametermedullationscale count