Feeling the hardened tissue of a scar on my head I wondered what the purpose of that scarring is, such skin scars are pretty harmless but from what I understand internal scarring can cause major problems if internal organs get damaged.

An extreme example I vaguely remember is the scarring following nerve damage, the new scar tissue can't transmit signals and so the nerve stops functioning properly.

Why does scarring occur when it seems so detrimental, why don't we rebuild the old tissue?


Scars are fibrous tissue that is left after an injury. The body does its best to fix a body part after an injury and scars are their best attempt at doing so. It would be pleasant to think we could have Wolverine type of healing capacities but we don't and the best we can do are those scars.

The ability to completely regenerate the damaged tissue depends upon the specific tissue. Also, some species are better of than others at regenerating their tissues. Such differences relate to the concept of cellular specialization.

For more information you should have a look at the wikipedia articles

and the Biology.SE posts

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer! But what exactly makes it so difficult to repair tissue damage for us? An amputated arm or something presents obvious problems but even relatively mild burns tend to cause scarring. $\endgroup$ – Koen vd H Mar 27 '17 at 19:16
  • $\begingroup$ This follow-up question is hard to answer because 1) what you are asking is like asking Why is there not more (or fewer) species?. When asking such thing you should justify why you would expect something else. In other words, asking why is nature as it is? is hard to answer while why is nature not like I would expect for such reasons? is much easier to answer. 2) Because I am an evolutionary geneticists and I know very little about physiology. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Mar 27 '17 at 19:35
  • $\begingroup$ I guess I would "expect" that organisms try their utmost to restore original function after damage so scarring seems a somewhat weird phenomenon when viewed this way. Surely there must be some evolutionary advantage? $\endgroup$ – Koen vd H Apr 2 '17 at 13:13

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