This article in the New Republic shines the spotlight on one of Darwin’s more obscure concerns, the evolutionary mystery of the beard.
Combining his reading of Darwin’s The Descent of Man and other research, author Christopher Oldstone-Moore tries to answer timeless questions like why did nature give men—and some women—beards? How did they end up with a band of hair on their cheeks and chins that society requires they scrape off every day? Are they a holdover from our much hairier progenitors? Do the bearded have some kind of advantage when it comes to finding a mate? Or do we need to look more closely at a possible “sociological theory of beards”? These and other profound questions are all addresses in this fascinating piece.
Although to get the full story you’ll probably have to check out Of Beards and Men: The Revealing History of Facial Hair by Christopher Oldstone-Moore, published by the University of Chicago Press. © 2015