Beards are Badges to Impress Ladies Say Scientists Investigating Hipster Face Trend

By Gary Cutlack on at

That man you've been friends with on Facebook for eight years who's suddenly, out of the blue, uploaded a new profile photo in which he has a beard? It's a monkey thing, apparently, used to impress potential partners by outwardly displaying evidence of extreme manliness.

The scientific explanation of today's obsession with facial hair comes via a report published in scientific paper Evolution and Human Behaviour. Co-author Dr Cyril Grueter suggests the beard is a sort of badge that singles one male out as being superior to others, like those monkeys that have bright red bottoms. If you have a beard right now, you may as well be walking around the jungle with your giant red bottom in the air.

Dr Grueter explained: "When you live in a small group where everyone knows everyone because of repeated interactions, there is no need to signal quality and competitiveness via ornaments. In large groups where individuals are surrounded by strangers, we need a quick reliable tool to evaluate someone’s strength and quality, and that’s where these elaborate ornaments come in."

Now, what's the deal with lumberjack shirts? Men who work in IT support trying to make it look like they're comfortable using a chainsaw to impress spinsters with large, unmanageable gardens? [Telegraph]

Image credit: Bearded man from Shutterstock