Why are there so many baerte
What are beards good for? That's what evolutionary biologists say
The effect of the images on other men, which the research duo examined in a second part of the study, seemed at least as interesting: over a hundred New Zealanders and Samoans only rated the photos of men with aggressive facial expressions. The result: the bearded men were consistently perceived as more aggressive than the men without a beard. The researchers' conclusion: "(...) The beard (appears) to increase the effectiveness of human aggressive facial indications. These results are in line with the hypothesis that the human beard evolved primarily through intrasexual selection between men and as part of complex facial communication signal status and aggressiveness "says the study.
The beard as a sign of dominance and self-confidence - and as a shock absorber
A beard as a sign of aggressiveness, dominance and self-confidence - that also makes sense from an evolutionary point of view. David Carrier and Ethan Beseris from the University of Utah conducted a research project to investigate the extent to which beards could have served as protection against beatings in the early ancestors of humans. "In hand-to-hand combat, it is mostly men who fight against other men and facial bones are the bones that are broken most often," explains biologist Carrier. "We had reason to believe that a beard could be a type of armor that covers one of the most vulnerable parts of the body in a fist fight. However, hair is usually not considered protective." Together with mechanical engineer Steven Naleway, the biologists built skulls out of synthetic resin and modeled beards with sheep fleece and bones with fiberglass panels, which have the same strength properties as bones. To simulate impacts, a weight was dropped over the chin of the skull replica and the impact was measured with a sensor.
And indeed: very hairy synthetic resin skulls act like a shock absorber, according to the study, the results of which were published in 2020 in the specialist magazine "Integrativeorganmal Biology". "The peak forces exerted on our 'bone' samples were 16 percent higher and the total energy absorbed was 37 percent higher in the fur than in the models without a beard," says David Carrier. "This finding is in line with a number of studies suggesting that men associate dominance, aggressiveness, and strength with beards." Even more: "We propose that Darwin's explanation of the lion's mane also applies to the beard of man."
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