Fur

Fur

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Fur is a synonym for hair
Hair
Hair is a filamentous biomaterial, that grows from follicles found in the dermis. Found exclusively in mammals, hair is one of the defining characteristics of the mammalian class....

, used more in reference to non-human animal
Animal
Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and...

s, usually mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

s; particularly those with extensives body hair coverage. The term is sometimes used to refer to the body hair of an animal as a complete coat, also known as the "pelage". Fur is also used to refer to animal pelts which have been processed into leather with the hair still attached. The words fur or furry are also used, more casually, to refer to hair-like growths or formations; particularly when the subject being referred to exhibits a dense coat of fine, soft "hairs".

Animal fur, if layered, rather than grown as a single coat, may consist of short ground hair, long guard hair
Guard hair
Guard hairs are the longest, coarsest hairs in a mammal's coat, forming the topcoat . They taper to a point and protect the undercoat from the elements. They are often water repellent and stick out above the rest of the coat...

, and, in some cases, medium awn hair
Awn hair
Awn hairs are the intermediate hairs in a mammal's coat. They are shorter than the guard hairs and longer than the down hairs. They help with insulation and protect the down hairs underneath. Most of the visible coat is made of this kind of hair....

. Mammals with reduced amounts of fur are often called "naked", as in The Naked Ape
The Naked Ape
The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal is a 1967 book by zoologist and anthropologist Desmond Morris which looks at humans as a species and compares them to other animals...

, naked mole rat
Naked Mole Rat
The naked mole rat , also known as the sand puppy or desert mole rat, is a burrowing rodent native to parts of East Africa and the only species currently classified in the genus Heterocephalus...

, and naked dogs
Hairless dog
A hairless dog is a dog with a genetic disposition for hairlessness. There are two known types of genetic hairlessness, a dominant and a recessive type.-Dominant genes:...

.

An animal with commercially valuable fur is known within the fur industry
Fur trade
The fur trade is a worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of animal fur. Since the establishment of world market for in the early modern period furs of boreal, polar and cold temperate mammalian animals have been the most valued...

 as a furbearer. The use of fur as clothing
Fur clothing
Fur clothing is clothing made of the fur of animals. Fur is one of the oldest forms of clothing; thought to have been widely used as hominids first expanded outside of Africa. Some view fur as luxurious and warm; others reject it due to moral beliefs...

 and/or decoration is considered controversial by some people: most animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

 advocates object to the trapping and killing of wildlife, and to the confinement and killing of animals on fur farms
Fur farming
Fur farming is the practice of breeding or raising certain types of animals for their fur.Fur used from wild caught animals is not farmed, and is instead known as 'free range fur' because the animals have lived their lives free and natural in the wild....

.
Fur has been a big challenge for 3D computer graphics
3D computer graphics
3D computer graphics are graphics that use a three-dimensional representation of geometric data that is stored in the computer for the purposes of performing calculations and rendering 2D images...

 artists due to its geometrical complexity and self-shadowing
Self-shadowing
Self-Shadowing is a computer graphics lighting effect, used in 3D rendering applications such as computer animation and video games. Self-shadowing allows non-static objects in the environment, such as game characters and interactive objects , to cast shadows on themselves and each other...

 effects. The first movie which made extensive use of CGI-fur was Pixar's
Pixar
Pixar Animation Studios, pronounced , is an American computer animation film studio based in Emeryville, California. The studio has earned 26 Academy Awards, seven Golden Globes, and three Grammy Awards, among many other awards and acknowledgments. Its films have made over $6.3 billion worldwide...

 Monsters, Inc.
Monsters, Inc.
Monsters, Inc. is a 2001 American computer-animated film and the fourth feature-length film produced by Pixar Animation Studios. It was directed by Pete Docter, co-directed by Lee Unkrich and David Silverman, and written by Jill Culton, Peter Docter, Ralph Eggleston, Dan Gerson, Jeff Pidgeon, Rhett...

 from 2001.

Nature of fur


Fur usually consists of two main layers:
  • Ground hair (known also as undercoat or down hair) — the bottom layer consisting of wool hairs which tend to be shorter, flattened, curly, and denser than the top layer. Its principal function is thermal insulation and thus thermoregulation
    Thermoregulation
    Thermoregulation is the ability of an organism to keep its body temperature within certain boundaries, even when the surrounding temperature is very different...

    .
  • Guard hair
    Guard hair
    Guard hairs are the longest, coarsest hairs in a mammal's coat, forming the topcoat . They taper to a point and protect the undercoat from the elements. They are often water repellent and stick out above the rest of the coat...

     — the top layer consisting of longer, often coarser, straight shafts of hair that stick out through the underfur. This is usually the visible layer for most mammals and contains most of the pigmentation. It protects the underfur from outside factors, such as rain, and is thus often water-repellent.


A third layer, the awn hair
Awn hair
Awn hairs are the intermediate hairs in a mammal's coat. They are shorter than the guard hairs and longer than the down hairs. They help with insulation and protect the down hairs underneath. Most of the visible coat is made of this kind of hair....

, may also exist. It is intermediate between the two others.

Use in clothing




In clothing, fur is leather with the hair retained for its insulating properties. Fur has long served as a source of clothing for hominoids including the Neanderthal
Neanderthal
The Neanderthal is an extinct member of the Homo genus known from Pleistocene specimens found in Europe and parts of western and central Asia...

. Animal furs used in garments and trim may be dyed bright colors or to mimic exotic animal patterns, or shorn down to imitate the feel of a soft velvet
Velvet
Velvet is a type of woven tufted fabric in which the cut threads are evenly distributed,with a short dense pile, giving it a distinctive feel.The word 'velvety' is used as an adjective to mean -"smooth like velvet".-Composition:...

 fabric. The term "a fur" is often used to refer to a fur coat, wrap, or shawl.

Common animal sources for fur clothing and fur trimmed accessories include fox
Fox
Fox is a common name for many species of omnivorous mammals belonging to the Canidae family. Foxes are small to medium-sized canids , characterized by possessing a long narrow snout, and a bushy tail .Members of about 37 species are referred to as foxes, of which only 12 species actually belong to...

, rabbit
Rabbit
Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha, found in several parts of the world...

, mink
Mink
There are two living species referred to as "mink": the European Mink and the American Mink. The extinct Sea Mink is related to the American Mink, but was much larger. All three species are dark-colored, semi-aquatic, carnivorous mammals of the family Mustelidae, which also includes the weasels and...

, beaver
Beaver
The beaver is a primarily nocturnal, large, semi-aquatic rodent. Castor includes two extant species, North American Beaver and Eurasian Beaver . Beavers are known for building dams, canals, and lodges . They are the second-largest rodent in the world...

s, ermine
Ermine
Ermine has several uses:* A common name for the stoat * The white fur and black tail end of this animal, which is historically worn by and associated with royalty and high officials...

, otter
Otter
The Otters are twelve species of semi-aquatic mammals which feed on fish and shellfish, and also other invertebrates, amphibians, birds and small mammals....

s, sable
Sable
The sable is a species of marten which inhabits forest environments, primarily in Russia from the Ural Mountains throughout Siberia, in northern Mongolia and China and on Hokkaidō in Japan. Its range in the wild originally extended through European Russia to Poland and Scandinavia...

, seals
Pinniped
Pinnipeds or fin-footed mammals are a widely distributed and diverse group of semiaquatic marine mammals comprising the families Odobenidae , Otariidae , and Phocidae .-Overview: Pinnipeds are typically sleek-bodied and barrel-shaped...

, cat
Cat
The cat , also known as the domestic cat or housecat to distinguish it from other felids and felines, is a small, usually furry, domesticated, carnivorous mammal that is valued by humans for its companionship and for its ability to hunt vermin and household pests...

s, dog
Dog
The domestic dog is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in...

s, coyote
Coyote
The coyote , also known as the American jackal or the prairie wolf, is a species of canine found throughout North and Central America, ranging from Panama in the south, north through Mexico, the United States and Canada...

s, chinchilla
Chinchilla
Chinchillas are crepuscular rodents, slightly larger and more robust than ground squirrels, and are native to the Andes mountains in South America. Along with their relatives, viscachas, they make up the family Chinchillidae....

, and possum
Possum
A possum is any of about 70 small to medium-sized arboreal marsupial species native to Australia, New Guinea, and Sulawesi .Possums are quadrupedal diprotodont marsupials with long tails...

.
The import and sale of seal
Pinniped
Pinnipeds or fin-footed mammals are a widely distributed and diverse group of semiaquatic marine mammals comprising the families Odobenidae , Otariidae , and Phocidae .-Overview: Pinnipeds are typically sleek-bodied and barrel-shaped...

 products was banned in the U.S. in 1972 over conservation concerns about Canadian seals. The import and sale is still banned even though the Marine Animal Response Society estimates the harp seal population is thriving at approximately 8 million. The import, export and sales of domesticated cat and dog fur was also banned in the U.S. under the Dog and Cat Protection Act of 2000.

The manufacturing of fur clothing involves obtaining animal pelts where the hair is left on the animal's processed skin. In contrast, making leather
Leather
Leather is a durable and flexible material created via the tanning of putrescible animal rawhide and skin, primarily cattlehide. It can be produced through different manufacturing processes, ranging from cottage industry to heavy industry.-Forms:...

 involves removing the hair from the hide or pelt and using only the skin. The use of wool
Wool
Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and certain other animals, including cashmere from goats, mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, vicuña, alpaca, camel from animals in the camel family, and angora from rabbits....

 involves shearing the animal's fleece from the living animal, so that the wool can be regrown but sheepskin shearling is made by retaining the fleece to the leather and shearing it. Shearling is used for boots, jackets and coats and is probably the most common type of skin worn.

Fur is also used to make felt
Felt
Felt is a non-woven cloth that is produced by matting, condensing and pressing woollen fibres. While some types of felt are very soft, some are tough enough to form construction materials. Felt can be of any colour, and made into any shape or size....

. A common felt is made from beaver fur and is used in high-end cowboy hats
Boss of the plains
The Boss of the Plains was a lightweight all-weather hat designed by John B. Stetson for the demands of the American west. It was intended to be durable, waterproof and elegant...

.

Controversy




Most animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

 activists are opposed to the trapping and killing of wildlife, and the confinement and killing of animals on fur farms
Fur farming
Fur farming is the practice of breeding or raising certain types of animals for their fur.Fur used from wild caught animals is not farmed, and is instead known as 'free range fur' because the animals have lived their lives free and natural in the wild....

. According to Humane Society International, over 8 million animals are trapped yearly for fur, while more than 30 million were raised in fur farms. Based on video footage, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is an American animal rights organization based in Norfolk, Virginia, and led by Ingrid Newkirk, its international president. A non-profit corporation with 300 employees and two million members and supporters, it claims to be the largest animal rights...

 (PETA) allege that dog and cat fur farming in China is particularly inhumane..

See also

  • Animal colouration
    Animal colouration
    Animal coloration is the general appearance of an animal resulting from the reflection or emission of light from its surfaces. The mechanisms for colour production in animals include pigments, chromatophores, structural coloration, and bioluminescence....

  • Cat coat genetics
    Cat coat genetics
    The genetics of cat coat coloration, pattern, length, and texture is a complex subject, and many different genes are involved.- Genes involved in albinism, dominant white, and white spotting :...

  • Coat (animal)
    Coat (animal)
    Coat, or the nature and quality of a show mammal's pelage, is important to the animal fancy in the judging of the animal, particularly at conformation dog shows, cat shows and horse shows...

  • Wool
    Wool
    Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and certain other animals, including cashmere from goats, mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, vicuña, alpaca, camel from animals in the camel family, and angora from rabbits....



Human activities
  • Fur farming
    Fur farming
    Fur farming is the practice of breeding or raising certain types of animals for their fur.Fur used from wild caught animals is not farmed, and is instead known as 'free range fur' because the animals have lived their lives free and natural in the wild....

  • Tanning
    Tanning
    Tanning is the making of leather from the skins of animals which does not easily decompose. Traditionally, tanning used tannin, an acidic chemical compound from which the tanning process draws its name . Coloring may occur during tanning...