back to article Why is the human face hairless?

Also in this week's column: Are women who are forty, fat and fair more likely to get gallstones? When is seeing not seeing? Is the human skull made up of one bone or two? Why is the human face hairless? Asked by Tom Sherwood of Worthington, Minnesota Most other mammals have hairy faces. So why are we humans an exception …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hairless Baloney

    Dr Juan once again presents a superficial article that ignores what is staring him in the face (or should be when he looks in the mirror!)... that at least 50% of the human population have facial hair and SHAVE it off! Even women have to counter this hair by bleaching, plucking or even in extremes shaving!

    To say that the human face is hairless is to show complete ignorance. The vast majority of the human body has hair expect for a few parts such as the soles of the feet and palms of the hand, the lips and cornea of the eyes. The rest of the body is covered in hair, some parts with long hair and other parts with fine hair. Nevertheless there is hair here, there and everywhere!

    And Dr Juan, even people with hairy faces can make facial expressions! Maybe people have faces with short or fine hair simply because that is what we prefer and over the years long or course hair has been bred out, but not eliminated.

  2. Timothy Phillipps


    Dang, Hairless Baloney, who peed on your cornflakes this morning? You need to go back to bed and sleep off your anger, then reread what Dr. Juan wrote, because your rant is doesn't address his response at all.

    Dr. Juan states, "It comes in varying degrees down the brow, around the ears, down alongside the cheeks, and forms a beard..." Hmm, okay there goes your shaving complaint.

    Also, if you give the issue just a moment of thought, you may realize that the "hairless" portion of the face is, generally, the forehead, around the eyes, and about midway down the cheeks for ALL of us. And, surprise of all surprises, that's the area where we communicate a huge amount of emotion via facial expressions! Wow! What a revelation! It's almost as if the hair were cleared from your eyes!

    Granted, there is hair all over the face but, as you point out, it is extremely fine and, therefore, does not obscure facial expressions. In other words, that portion of the face is, to our regular visaul perception, hairless.

    Now, go back to bed, or go have a drink, or whatever it takes to get you back to your happy place. A'ight?

    Laughing in your hairless face,


  3. Webster Phreaky

    Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is full of liberal primate sh!t.

    Typical of LIBERAL science POSERS, Stephen Juan, Ph.D. spouts dribble with little to no scientific basis.

    I have a Ph.D. in Vert. Paleontology and in Anthropology - there's MY basis, what's Dr. Liberal's?

    Humans have JUST AS MUCH hair on their face as their counterparts in the Great Apes! SOME of our species have considerable COURSE and thick hair and some have barely visible fine hair. Why the difference? Let me spell it out for Dr. Dopey Juan ...... E N V I R O N M E N T A L evolution, just at the colour of our skin has to do with the same!

    The farther north a human group evolved , the lighter the skin tone and the generation of Vitamin D by our bodies. The advantage of light skin is that it does not block sunlight as effectively, leading to increased production of vitamin D, necessary for calcium absorption and bone growth. The lighter skin of women may result from the higher calcium needs of women during pregnancy and lactation.

    So goes the reason for less hairy faces AND bodies. The environment changed OUR species by locale for MANY reasons - primarily a LESS hairy body cools faster, and because the human brain is so much larger and more active it MUST stay cooler compared to that of an ape who spends most of it's life relatively inactive! So why aren't Finns and Eskimos more hairy? Because on an evolutionary time scale, they are new comers to their cold climate and they have adapted their clothing for the extreme frigid climes.

    Also, humans evolved hairlessness to reduce parasite loads, especially ectoparasites that may carry disease. Hairlessness became possible and desirable as clothes and shelter could be cleaned or changed if infected with parasites.

    So "Dr. BS" Juan, NO ONE in the scientific academia shares YOUR "hair brained" hypothesis ... and while you and your lefty buddies think our President (who deserves some respect) looks like a Chimp, I am quite certain now that you proved that YOU are a Horses Ass.

  4. Martin Owens

    Thought body hair loss was

    I always thought the size and density of human body hair was due to the fact that our ancestors wanted to be able to swim. the facial hair could be the same.

    Or, and I know this might sound odd but perhaps there was more than one reason; it's not as if evolution has a clip-board saying 'Remove hair for body heat [check]' it's more likely that multiple environmental/social factors can push for the same evolutionary advantages at the same time.

  5. Mike

    Name-calling, swearing, and typing in caps

    Yes, because name-calling, swearing, and emphasizing your words with capital letters speaks so highly of you. Calling someone a liberal and then going on about your credentials makes me wonder if you are the one, in fact, lying about your Ph.D. and not Dr. Juan.

  6. Simon Brown

    References please?

    Right up until the last sentence you make sense. Then you say: "Hairlessness makes it all so much better and easier to do so."

    That's not necessarily a considered conclusion one might draw from the evidence you have presented. For instance would that mean that people with facial hair are somewhat more inscrutable? Indeed would the conclusion you have drawn be backed up by any research or cited in any peer reviewed journal?

    I think hairy faces are dead easy to read but I'm not a doctor so my view probably doesn't count :)

  7. Ingemar Smith

    This Means Hairless People Will Eventually Succumb To Folks With Beards

    because the bearded ones will have the tactical advantage and be able to 'read' the faces of the hairless, right?

  8. Rampage

    Was about to take this site off my list to check daily..

    I for one, read this leftists complete BS account for the seemingly lack of facial hair on humankind.. esp after I read his little jab towards my President.

    Which I for one, am so tired of reading.. that I'm done paying daily homage to anti-American sites. Just not going to do it.

    But the reply from Webster Phreaky not only backs up what my real university education taught me.. but he also laid it down on Doctor Dumbass.

    Facial expressions does not make evolutionary sense. Its not that much of a motivator.

    Webster is correct.

    Even though I "merely" hold a bachelors degree, clueless leftist doctors are easy to see through.. and they simply are not that intelligent.

    They live in academia, and within the theoretical world constantly.. so they happen to miss a lot of REAL WORLD facts.

    Thanks Webster, you saved this site from losing a daily visitor. Actually El Reg, you should thank your blessings you have such intelligent readers to save your daily visitors since you chose to publish the same old tired anti-Americanism I'm tired of reading.

  9. Simon

    Less hair?

    Um just one question. When was the last time you saw a monkey with long hair and a beard? It seems to me that the face is the one area where we have more hair than chimps. Having said that we get hair cuts, so does that make our hair grow longer? If it was just left from birth would it stay at a short length or end up like this average looking guy?

  10. Lloyd


    Surely God created us all in his own image and God, not being a Unix bod (although he does have sandals) doesn't have facial hair, hence we have no facial hair (except Unix bods who are all widely accepted to be in league with old Nick).

  11. Greg Nelson


    Neoteny is a theory found in developmental biology that investigates the retention of juvenile physical characteristics in adult members of a species. Hairlessness is one such trait. . Stephen Jay Gould argued that humans are a neotenous species of chimpanzee. A question along similar lines asks why our species has underdeveloped canine teeth.

  12. Erik Ray

    Facial clarity

    I think it all comes down to non-verbal communication. The best way to tell how someone is feeling and therefore what they are about to do next, is to look at their face. An angry glare, a mirthful smile, a look of surprise -- these are invaluable methods to convey information to your tribe-mates and to strangers you meet in the veldt. Getting the signal wrong could mean the death of a pal or yourself.

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  14. John A Blackley

    And The Purpose Is................?

    So some guy posts an interesting/amusing little article on the hairyness/hairlessness of the human face and, in so doing, takes a pretty partisan swipe at the Prez of the US of A.

    By so doing he causes an entire stream of juvenile flaming - by all the usual suspect types. I wonder if this was an experiment?

  15. John

    Hair Shirt

    Hey guys, keep your hair shirts on! I'm starting to wonder whether humans have evolved much reading some of the inane comments above. False claims of Ph Ds, spelling errors and the choice of vacuous leaders, it's all too much.

    I know some Italians who have so much facial and body hair, they could have been extras in Planet of the Apes. And that's just the women!

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