Scientists have analyzed the hardness of different minerals and materials over many years, but the same question comes up again and again – is a coconut as hard as a human skull?
The short answer is no, a coconut is not as hard as an adult human skull. Coconuts hold a position of 3.5 on the Mohs scale for hardness, whereas an adult human skull holds a position of 5, making it the harder of the two materials. This can vary however depending on the age of the skull – children and the elderly are known to have softer skulls, in which case a coconut may be the harder material.
Keep reading to find out all there is to know about how coconut compares in hardness to a human skull!
The Hardness of a Coconut
Coconuts are very strong, with an Ultimate Tensile Strength (UTS) of 7,034 PSI (National Library of Medicine). Aged coconuts tend to be harder and tougher than younger coconuts, as sugar decreases in coconuts with age. As sugar decreases, coconuts begin to ripen which in turn makes them tougher.
Coconuts score a level of 3.5 on the Mohs hardness scale (roughly the harness of a copper penny) and are made from strong fibers that contain high levels of lignin content. Lignin is a plant-derived polymer that acts as a natural glue, giving coconuts their hard outer shell.
It is believed from an evolution point of view that coconuts are so hard because they grow on tall trees, and need to be able to survive falling from a large height so that they can land safely and grow another coconut tree.
The Hardness of a Human Skull
Human skulls are also very hard, and are similar to coconuts in that older skulls will be tougher. This is because juvenile skulls are known to be softer than adult skulls.
The exception to this rule is skulls of elderly humans, as these are likely to be more brittle and therefore may not be as hard.
Human skulls hold a UTS of between 9,325 PSI and 19,377 PSI (National Library of Medicine), depending on age and condition. In terms of the Mohs hardness scale, bone holds a level of 5 – this is harder than coconut and minerals such as fluorite, calcite, gypsum, and talc, but less hard than others including apatite, orthoclase, quartz, topaz, corundum, and diamond.
Comparing Similarities/Differences Between Coconuts and Human Skulls
Surprisingly, coconuts and human skulls share many similarities – however, they hold some differences too.
Coconuts and human skulls are similar in that they are both round and hard in texture, scoring between 3.5 and 5 on the Mohs hardness scale. They are also similar in that the older they are, the harder they become. An older coconut or human skull is likely to be harder to break than a more juvenile coconut/human skull.
However, there are some differences between coconuts and human skulls. Human skulls are harder than coconuts, with a Mohs hardness scale score of 5 vs. a coconut’s score of 3.5.
You would also find that coconuts and skulls are penetrable in different ways, as each will have different weaknesses. For example, the sides of the human skull are the thinnest and therefore more vulnerable, whereas the seam running down the center of a coconut will be its weakest point.
Mohs Hardness Scale for Comparison
We’ve included below a brief example of the Mohs hardness scale to provide a comparison of coconuts and human skulls with other minerals.
|Mineral Name||Scale Number|
|Bone (eg. Adult Human Skull)||5|
Other Pressing Coconut Questions!
- Is a coconut a fruit or a nut? Or both?!?!
- Coconut butter vs. Coconut Oil: What’s the Difference?
- Are coconut milk and coconut water the same thing or different?
We’ve put together a few brief FAQs to give you a better insight into the differences between coconuts and human skulls. Continue reading to find out more!
A coconut is often used as a representation of a human skull because they are both round, hard objects.
This is a fair representation as the two objects have their similarities, however, they are not identical and should be used as a vague example only. For example, human skulls are much heavier than coconuts, with an average weight of just over 11 pounds, vs the average weight of a coconut which is a little under 1.5 pounds.
Coconuts and human skulls are often compared because they are similar in size and hardness.
It is also thought that coconuts are symbols of the human ego in Indian culture. By breaking a coconut, you are representing the breakdown of a human’s ego, and with the ego being held predominantly in the brain this has led to correlations drawn between coconuts and human skulls.
A human skull is difficult to break because it doesn’t contain any bone marrow, unlike other bones in the human body. Skulls are designed to be tough in order to protect the brain, and will only be impacted by severe impacts/blows.
The human skull can withstand 500 pounds of force – in comparison wood generally can withstand roughly 5,000 pounds whereas steel can take approximately 40,000 pounds per square inch.
It takes between 200 – 400 pounds of force to crack a coconut. Coconuts do not break easily as they have a hard outer shell – there’s usually a seam line down the center of a coconut which is the weakest part of a coconut.
You can break a coconut by hitting the seamline with a hammer multiple times. The coconut should begin to crack and gradually become easier to break. Once the outer shell has been removed you should be able to cut into the next layer revealing the white flesh and water inside the coconut.