1
$\begingroup$

Why do some animals such as some Goats, Ibex, Orangutan etc, have long well-shaped beard like men?

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Probably for the same reason men have beard. $\endgroup$ – Roland Jan 28 at 7:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Apparently, the "sexiness" of beards is conserved in the animal kingdom. $\endgroup$ – Frieke Jan 28 at 12:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Frieke Some biologists argue that beards have less to do with female choice per se, but more to with intrasexual competition and status hierarchies. So a male beard may have more to do with intidimating other males than females finding them sexy. I'm not saying that this is true necessarily; I just wanted to note that I have seen it been argued. $\endgroup$ – Eff Jan 30 at 7:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Eff: yes indeed. Growing a long beard is costly (concerning resources but also potential handicap). Being able to afford a nice beard is showing dominance among males and attractiveness for females. Maybe I should just put this into an answer.. ;) $\endgroup$ – Frieke Jan 30 at 10:38
1
$\begingroup$

In humans and animals beard growth is usually restricted to males, since it's dependent on hormones (testosterone or, specifically, according to wikipedia it's dihydrotestosterone). By no surprise it starts growing during puberty.

But why?

Growing a long beard is costly concerning the necessary resources but also because of a potential handicap. Being able to afford a nice beard is showing dominance among males and attractiveness for females. It could be seen as a direct display of high testosterone levels. This is comparable to peacock feathers. They are very impractical, but have great value for showing dominance and attracting females.

I think, there are many psychological theories around to explain the attractiveness of beards. Some might also be meaningful in animals. Apart from cultural, religious or hipster beard trends, we generally consider old men with long beards as wise and knowledgeable. In animals the beard might also signal social status in groups, additionally to male dominance and sexual attraction.

Further reading:

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The research of animal beards is pretty sparse, but hair at the chin is just one of many "appearance traits". So, I provided some studies about various aspects of sexual selection and human psychology that give explanations. $\endgroup$ – Frieke Jan 30 at 17:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Further reading: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handicap_principle $\endgroup$ – Jam Feb 1 at 14:50

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.