The search of finding the origin of beards is a slightly oxymoronic one. That’s because we know humans used to be covered in fur just 6 million years ago. As a result, the question should be why our facial hair stayed rather than disappearing.
According to Darwin, the man behind the theory of evolution, beards resulted in part due to the process of sexual selection for the sole purpose of attracting the opposite gender.
That’s somehow true to this day too, even if there isn’t much leeway to be had against clean-shaven looks. Beards could have also been used as a way of showing a higher social pecking order.
Beards make men more vulnerable in fights, which was the fear that made Alexander the Great ban them for his soldiers, so it is unlikely humans evolved them as an attacking device, another potential helping hand in Darwin’s selection process.
It’s difficult to refute the benefits attained by the presence of beard, though.
For one, beards help with warmth and protection from rough climatic conditions by keeping the skin safe, as well as offsetting an occasional punch or too.
Finally, evidence through research finds support for people with beard appearing more mature, older and of a higher social belonging class than those who don’t. So much for a cleaner look.
Not-to-mention, the mature, older look, they provide people who choose to wear them.