Turns out monkey and man have even more in common than we thought.
Scientists have offered an explanation as to why so many men are growing beards.
University of Western Australia researchers found men are increasingly feeling the pressure from other men to look more aggressive and they’re using their beards as a way to easily display this.
Dr Cyril Grueter writes in the journal of Evolution and Human Behaviour about the idea that in big societies, male primates had developed increasingly ostentatious “badges” which could enhance male attractiveness to women and give them a competitive edge over others.
Societies not only included male humans and beards. The study also linked cheek flanges in orangutans, elongated noses on proboscis monkeys and upper-lip warts in golden snub-nosed monkeys as badges of honour that were advantageous when luring the opposite sex.
The team investigated 154 species of primates and found less obvious badges in males of species where social and physical conflict were common and individual recognition was limited.
But the more populated a society became with males, the more competition there was as the more obvious the badges became… hence more beards on more faces.
The modern man has to compete with hundreds of men in his hometown, not to mention the online dating space, so a beard could be considered a fast way to attracting a woman who was looking for a ‘powerful’ man.
The idea isn’t a new one either. Grueter also notes the popularity of moustaches and beards among British men in the 1800s.
The attitude to facial hair also changed in the Middle East during the 19th century as a result of wars in India and Asia as beards became associated with wisdom and power.