A beard is the collection of hair that grows on the chin and cheeks of humans and some animals. In humans, usually only pubescent or adult males are able to grow beards. From an evolutionary viewpoint the beard is a part of the broader category of androgenic hair. It is a vestigial trait from a time when humans had hair on their face and entire body like the hair on gorillas. The evolutionary loss of hair is pronounced in some populations such as indigenous Americans and some east Asian populations, who have less facial hair, whereas people of European or South Asian ancestry and the Ainu have more facial hair. Societal attitudes toward male beards have varied widely depending on factors such as prevailing cultural-religious traditions and the current era's fashion trends. Some religions (such as Sikhism) have considered a full beard to be essential for all males able to grow one, and mandate it as part of their official dogma. Other cultures, even while not officially mandating it, view a beard as central to a man's virility, exemplifying such virtues as wisdom, strength, sexual prowess and high social status. However, in cultures where facial hair is uncommon (or currently out of fashion), beards may be associated with poor hygiene or a "savage", uncivilized, or even dangerous demeanor.
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