If at the time of the Neanderthals scalp (and beard in particular) was widely used for heat preservation of a person in the cold, then eventually the beard became rather fashionable accessory than some functional tool. And fashion is cyclical: in the middle of the last century, for example, men prefer to go clean shaven, but now more and more young people grow a beard. Mostly due to the fact that they are just too lazy to shave once or several times a week. However, in ancient times, many men also wore a beard, and as researchers found, not in order to appear more handsome and manly.
Researchers from the University of Utah had quite an unusual experiment. They created the actual models of the jaw of a person, but as a “beard” used small pieces of sheep skins. Initially, for purity of experiment it was planned to hold the experience of these fragments of lower jaws, but scientists have been unable to find enough samples, covered with hair. Nevertheless, even with an artificial jaw they were able to come to interesting conclusions.
They left untouched the hair on some hides, others slightly trimmed it, and the third is completely plucked. Due to the fact that human hair deeper into the skin, managed to compensate for the difference in density of the location of the hair (from sheep it is much more). Then all the samples were dropped a weight of 4.7 kg and a diameter of 3 cm. After that, the researchers conducted measurements of the speed of the load and its acceleration at the moment of contact with an artificial jaw, and also measured the kinetic energy absorbed is covered with sheepskin model, and the resulting load on it.
Why you need a beard
Comparing the indicators for all three types of jaws, the scientists came to the conclusion that the jaw with the greatest wool cover absorbs 30-40% more kinetic energy at impact load than the jaw with a smaller amount of hair or none at all. In other words, the wool has significantly reduced the impact speed of the load on the jaw, “paying off” part. This suggests that in the case of a real human beard can protect the jaw from fractures.
Apparently, that is why in ancient times men used to grow long beards, the researchers said. In particular, many of the sculptures fist fighters are depicted with a thick beard. Most likely, the presence of such facial hair allowed them to gain advantage in fights, as well as during the violent competition. Not to mention the fact that the opponent is a bearded man usually seems stronger, more aggressive and manly than shaved. When battles often try to strike it on the head, because it can disorient your opponent or lead to loss of consciousness. Most of the attacks in this case falls on the lower jaw, which often break.
For example, the lion uses its mane to protect from damage during fights. And hair on the face of the person located about the same, and he could use his beard in a similar way. Previously, the majority of conflicts were solved with physical force, and the presence of dense vegetation on the man’s face literally could have increased its chances of survival in a fight with another opponent.
A recent study revealed that women are more like bearded men due to the fact that they seem to them more successful and reliable than others.
Of course, this does not mean that if you have a beard, then you can safely join any battle, believing that the vegetation will help to win. Success in battle depends on a lot of relevant skills, besides professional wrestlers often hit with such force that no beard will not be able to repay such a blow. However, many well-known wrestlers really prefer not to shave his beard. But something tells me that this is either a fad, or faith in superstitions (many athletes decided not to shave my beard before an important match).