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Darwinian Selection Dominates the Beard Fashions

Do you know the reason that the hipster’s chin is always sweaty? The answer is that he has a beard before it is cool.

Darwinian whiskers

Darwinian whiskers. Darwin had a righteous beard.Image credit: Julia Margaret Cameron via Wikimedia Commons.

In some studies, the results have demonstrated that women usually are fond of beards, while others think the men with whiskers seem older and more active.

However the new research finding illustrates that although it might be relative, but the fashions of male’s beard do stick to a pattern of Darwinian selection. When they are rare, they will become most attractive either to women or men.

In the study, released in the journal Biology Letters, the scientists questioned 213 male and 1,453 female in rating how attractive men were in regard to “beardedness” by four different levels – the top one concerning totally clean-shaven and the bottom one was being fully bearded. These participants were given the chance to see different groups of men with full beards, and with clean-shaven faces, or with light and heavy stubble. Both men and women participating in the study said that full beards and heavy stubble were presented with most attractiveness when they were not common. In addition, the clean-shaven faces were also identified as most desirable ones when they were rare as well.

This is a good illustration of negative frequency-dependent selection, in which when traits are rare, they will be most desirable. Such “rule” could help confirm the reason why male guppies develop different bright colors.

According to the researchers, negative frequency-dependent preferences could play a part in keeping variation in male’s beards and attributing to changing fashions.

It is possible for hipsters to be aware such links, because they are infamous for doing the things just opposite to the general trend. Who knows?

Source: Popular Science