Kate Johnston, of Ardgowan School, asks :-

Why do some animals have beards?

Alex Davies, a vet at Massey University, responded.

There are only a few examples of bearded animals. After humans and goats, there doesn't seem to be a lot more. And it is only males of these species that have a proper beard. A beard makes a face look very different, so maybe it makes men more attractive to women, or men more dominant over other men. An even more difficult question is then, why do some men trim or even shave off their beards? It is a lot of work over a lifetime, just to try and look like a woman! Is it possible to prove anything about beards? Could we show, somehow, that prehistoric men had to keep their faces warmer than women, or that a matted beard (remember, ancient cavemen didn't have combs) provided protection for throats against attackers? Beards are a good example of something we can observe, measure, and think about. But like combs and wattles on roosters, can we really expect to make sense of fashion?