7
$\begingroup$

In my universe, there are sixteen living species from the Homo genus: anatomically modern humans, therianthropes, vampires, wizards, trolls, orcs, goblins, gnomes, ogres, dwarves, giants, halflings, elves, merfolk, angels, and demons.

In some species, both males and females (and by extension, intersexes) have facial hair. This is the case for dwarves, for therianthropes, for goblins, for halflings, for wizards, for gnomes, and for demons.

In some species, both females and males (and by extension, intersexes) lack facial hair. This is the case for elves, for vampires, for ogres, for giants, for merfolk, and for angels.

In all other species, most individuals with facial hair are males. This is the case for anatomically modern humans, orcs, and trolls.

So, I wonder why would adults of either sex normally have facial hair in some species, and at the opposite, why for others, most adults do not have facial hair.

$\endgroup$
6
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ What are the advantages of facial hair, or body hair generally? $\endgroup$
    – Richard
    Apr 5 at 0:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Richard Body hair keeps you warm in the winter if you have loads of it. If you only have a little, it stops chafing at the armpits and genitals, at the cost of a different kind of chafing. It can also collect sweat and make you smelly to attract a mate or scare off a rival. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Apr 5 at 0:45
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I have no idea what the evolutionary advantages of only men having beards is. Maybe it's a side effect of something useful rather than something useful itself. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Apr 5 at 0:46
  • $\begingroup$ I'm pretty sure in most moderate climates there's no significant advantage either way for us, why we are the way we are with facial hair is almost certainly mostly down to sexual selection, if your thinking dwarfs underground? there will be even less environmental reason than we have for beards. $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Apr 5 at 2:10
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ There are human populations where the men don't grow beards well, and even some where they don't grow at all. It seems the item is one of sexual selection, rather than plain old natural selection. So, either the girls like it or they don't. $\endgroup$
    – frеdsbend
    Apr 5 at 2:40

2 Answers 2

6
$\begingroup$

The Non/indirectly-gendered Uses of facial Hair:

According to some experts, facial hair serves only ornamental functions. There may be some roles in male-to-male roles and dominance, sexual signals, and signaling age, but the general consensus is that the function isn't a functional one but a psychological one. So what can we come up with in this case that makes the facial hair make sense?

  1. Speciation: All your species and sub-species may be able to interbreed, but this isn't always a good thing. If a species has facial hair on women, those women may appear more masculine to other species. The facial hair may be a signal within the species that this is "one of us," while making the females of the species less desirable to members of other species.
  2. Patriarchal/Matriarchal culture signaling: in interacting with other species, there may be social advantages conferred if the females look male to other species. A paternalistic species may give more status and respect to a female if they subconsciously equate them with males. Conversely, a maternalistic or egalitarian species with facial hair might still get along better with males of another species with facial hair, subconsciously supporting another species gender roles.
  3. Status/rank: since facial hair tends to develop with age, facial hair can signal an individual's rank in society. The hairless young have little status, but males and females alike with facial hair are respected. This also means those who are shaved are effectively demoted in society, so forcing others to shave could be used as a means of control, and species with NO facial hair might be looked down upon (especially relevant if there is an 'inferior' species dominated by another which lacks facial hair).
  4. Environment-specific: Perhaps in one region, the local species has extensive facial hair, which helps prevent frostbite. Or a given species has a sort of 'hair filter' that screens out a certain kind of insect or particulate in the environment. Maybe the hair has become like a modified scale that protects the face from injury during feeding, or perhaps one of your species uses facial hair like a cat's whiskers to convey sensory information.
$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

For the species that have facial hair on both sexes, there are several options to explain them. First females of the species Homo Sapiens do in fact have facial hair in certain situations (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypertrichosis ) in fact a lot have relatively minor facial hair that are not caused by genetic mutations. Therefore it could simply be explained as weird genetic mutations. However about evoluionary developement, as beards were most likely evolved as a way for humans to help identify other humans, thus I cannot see why this cannot be applied for both sexes.

About the species without facial hair, it could again simply be explained as random mutations, as there ar already human populations which notably lack significant facial hair.

P.S. Sorry if this is a bad answer, I am new.

$\endgroup$

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .