February 28, 2009

Scientist publishes paper on navel lint

An Austrian scientist says he has discovered a type of body hair that traps stray pieces of lint and draws them into the navel.

Chemist Georg Steinhauser made his discovery by studying 503 pieces of lint from his own belly button, the Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

The newspaper reported that chemical analysis revealed the pieces of lint contained not only cotton from clothing, but also flecks of dead skin, fat, sweat and dust.

The Vienna University of Technology chemist wrote in the journal Medical Hypothesis that the scaly structure of specialized hairs enhances the abrasion of minuscule fibers from the shirt and directs the lint toward the belly button.

The hair's scales act like a kind of barbed hooks, he said. Abdominal hair often seems to grow in concentric circles around the navel.