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    The Link Between Beards and Human Evolution

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    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

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    Beards are on their way out, and it’s not the fashion police who are saying so – it’s a team of evolutionary biologists.

    Beards may be on their way out, and it’s not the fashion police who are saying so – it’s a team of evolutionary biologists.

    The problem with facial hair, it appears, is that there’s just too much of it.

    Beards of all varieties, from the burly lumberjack style to the carefully maintained bank executive look, have become so common, they’re beginning to give the wearer an evolutionary disadvantage.

    In short, women just aren’t into them anymore.

    A more scientific explanation is that they no longer give a competitive advantage.

    The phenomenon is called "negative frequency-dependent sexual selection" and it dictates that in some instances, rare traits provide an evolutionary edge as they’re more likely to attract to the opposite sex.

    Through a series of experiments, the scientists determined that facial hair falls into that category.

    The team had 36 men grow beards and took photos of each of them with 4 different lengths. The photographs were then shown to over 14 hundred women and a couple hundred men.

    The photographs were carefully grouped to provide a myriad of scenarios showing relative beardedness from frequent to rare.

    The results showed that when most of the subjects were sporting some growth, the clean-shaven ones were deemed more desirable.