Why does burning hair smell so bad?

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paul.fr

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Why does burning hair smell so bad?
« on: 22/04/2008 23:00:39 »
Does the type of shampoo or hair cair products affect the smell? I know that it smells bad when you burn it even after it has just been washed.

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Offline SquarishTriangle

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Why does burning hair smell so bad?
« Reply #1 on: 23/04/2008 09:00:23 »
Paul, how often do you burn your hair??! :P

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Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Why does burning hair smell so bad?
« Reply #2 on: 23/04/2008 10:31:58 »
Why are you worried if shampoo will effect it, are you self concious about how your hair smells when its burned? :P

I don't think it would effect it

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paul.fr

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Why does burning hair smell so bad?
« Reply #3 on: 23/04/2008 12:59:25 »
I don't burn my hair! But i do remember the smell from burning my sisters hair...when i was younger, of course.

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lyner

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Why does burning hair smell so bad?
« Reply #4 on: 24/04/2008 09:51:39 »
Sensitivity into the smell of burning hair sounds to me like an excellent characteristic for survival. No wonder we all have it. It goes along with the fabled  fear of fire that wild animals are supposed to have in all the old adventure stories.

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Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Why does burning hair smell so bad?
« Reply #5 on: 24/04/2008 11:40:34 »
Apparently if a rhino sees a fire it madly runs to it and stomps it out

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Offline science_guy

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Why does burning hair smell so bad?
« Reply #6 on: 24/04/2008 16:05:17 »
*sets fire next to rhino*

run!
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Offline Bored chemist

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Why does burning hair smell so bad?
« Reply #7 on: 24/04/2008 19:36:23 »
The relatively high sulphur content of the proteins in hair might be a factor, but if I had posted that earlier we would have missed out on the info about rhinos.
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Offline FuzzyUK

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Why does burning hair smell so bad?
« Reply #8 on: 25/11/2009 13:13:37 »
I don't burn my hair! But i do remember the smell from burning my sisters hair...when i was younger, of course.

Why would you want to burn your sister, you sadist?

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Offline Karsten

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Why does burning hair smell so bad?
« Reply #9 on: 26/11/2009 14:54:32 »
I find that hairdryers can have that repugnant "burnt hair" smell (probably because hairs get sucked into the heating element).  I'm purely guessing that it's only burnt human hair that we find repugnant.  I understand that burnt human flesh is also disgusting (yet we manage to cook all sorts of meats without ill effect).  Does anyone have any experiences that would tend to prove/disprove this idea?

That would need to be tested so that the element of disgust, desperation, or fear does not taint your perception. I am sure that cows or pigs burning alive in their stall due to a fire do not smell great to the owner even if he/she is a dedicated carnivore. You would have to test whether human flesh smells disgusting without knowing what you are smelling. I bet that cannibals associate lots of good things with the smell of burnt human flesh. Don't know any though (as far as I know) so I can't ask.

Also, do babies (or other people who have never smelt burnt hair) respond negatively to the smell of burning hair? Or is is a learned response? Usually the smell of burnt hair is associated with some sort of negative experience and related response by bystanders.
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Offline Karsten

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Why does burning hair smell so bad?
« Reply #10 on: 26/11/2009 15:00:22 »
Apparently if a rhino sees a fire it madly runs to it and stomps it out

I love this idea but...

http://www.sosrhino.org/knowledge/faq.php
"Q: Do rhinos really stomp out fires?
A:There are quite a number of legends about the rhinoceros stamping out fire. The story seems to have been common in Malaysia and Burma.

This type of rhinoceros even had a special name in Malay, 'badak api', where badak means rhinoceros and api means fire. The animal would come when a fire is lit in the forest and stamp it out.

If there is or can be any truth in the legend, it would be hard to decide. Suffice it to say that there has been no sighting of this phenomenon in recent history.

Of course, the rhinoceros in South East Asia has become very rare is hardly ever met nowadays, as it keeps to the deep forest and high mountains."

ALthough, here you can see one doing it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SE1AEd2NqM
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