Is a Lush Beard a Signal of Having More Testosterone? Not So Fast, Says New Study

The courtship ritual of the peacock is no modest affair – gyrating a heavy fan of shimmering feathers to impress a potential partner. But if his tail feathers aren’t as impressive as those of his competitors, the peacock is out of luck. 


The most popular evolutionary account of why peacocks have developed these elaborate but cumbersome plumages is that they are an ‘honest signal’ of the genetic quality of their bearer. Conventional wisdom would have us believe that facial hair in humans functions in a similar way. 

As a highly sexually dimorphic trait – something that marks a systematic difference between two sexes of a species – facial hair in humans has been traditionally thought to ‘honestly signal’ elevated levels of testosterone in those who possess more facial hair…

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