Chance’s Beard to Darwin

One of my global team of unpaid researchers emailed me to tell about this short video, one of a series called Curious Objects commissioned by Cambridge University, which tells the story of a rather hairy encounter between Charles Darwin and a man called Dr Frank Chance. Dr Chance attempted to counter Darwin’s claim in Descent of Man that beard hair is always lighter than hair on the head – and went as far as sharing some of his own trimmings with the great man himself (although he seems to have had plenty of his own).

Is it true that beard hair is always lighter than scalp hair? And what about other hair…..the downstairs kind even?

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5 Responses to “Chance’s Beard to Darwin”

  1. “Is it true that beard hair is always lighter than scalp hair? And what about other hair…..the downstairs kind even?”

    Lighter in colour or lighter in weight?

    Blond men with red beards are quite common.

    Downstairs? Mine is lighter (in colour and in weight).

    Test the theory that pubic-hair colour and eyebrow-colour are the same. There are many blonds with dark eyebrows, but also some with light eyebrows (and lashes).

    • telescoper Says:

      My own hair is dark brown/black but greying. My beard has more red in it than black but also more grey; it’s variegated. My other hair is not for pub(l)ic discussion…

  2. I used to have dark red scalp hair and beard. Other hair was light red and/or blond. After chemotherapy, scalp hair changed to a boring generic brown colour (after a temporary phase involving curls); beard hair stayed dark red, but is now substantially grey. Other hair became less and/or finer due to chemotherapy, scalp hair substantially less (prompting me to cut it short, though I still use the historical avatar (which is a picture from 1995). Interestingly, amount and consistency of facial hair wasn’t affected by chemotherapy, whereas all other hair was, though like all other hair it was absent for a while. (Surprisingly, at least one person thought that my new look after months of illness was some sort of fashion statement!)

  3. Anton Garrett Says:

    I was wondering if you and I counted as “curious objects commissioned by Cambridge University”?

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