Hair ID


Hair analysis and Hair ID

Hair analysis as a means of identifying mammals first came into general use in Australia during the 1970's, following publication of a by Hans Brunner and Brian Coman (The Identification of Mammalian Hairs, Inkata Press, 1974).  This book presented a series of simple techniques for performing hair analysis, and provided reference material for a number of Victorian mammals.

In the following 30 years, hair analysis has gained widespread acceptance as a valuable research tool in fauna survey work.  On a number of occasions, populations of rare and endangered species have been located through hair analysis. For example, populations of the endangered smoky mouse were located in South Eastern Australia, from analysis of hair samples collected during field surveys.

Hair analysis has also found application in forensic crime investigation.

The Hair ID software package

Hair ID is a software package that has been designed to make the process of hair analysis simpler and more accessible. The software package has two main parts:

  • A database of information on the hair of 110 Australian mammal species.  This database is the first published extension to the original material published in the Brunner and Coman (1974).  The information in the database is original material that is not available anywhere else.
  • A comprehensive reference section that describes the nature of hair, and gives detailed instruction on the techniques of hair analysis.  This section is an updated and extended version of the original work in Brunner and Coman (1974) presented in electronic format.

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