Ironically, the revelations were made as boffins at Switzerland’s Hirslanden Clinic carried out tests to see if humans could pick up dog diseases if scanned in a vet’s MRI machine.
What’s in that carpet
While once the bastion of adventurers and hermits, human beards have grown meaningless in their ubiquity over recent years as small-faced men, Scandi-wannabes, and the sartorially uninspired have turned to face furniture as an alternative to developing a sense of humour.
Eighteen such human chin carpets were run through the scanner, still attached to their corresponding humans. Scientists then examined the machines to see how much filth had rubbed off. The examination showed that all of the beards had high microbial counts, and seven contained dangerous bacteria.
Next, the boffins disinfected the MRI scanner and put dogs in it.
“The researchers found a significantly higher bacterial load in specimens taken from the men’s beards compared with the dogs’ fur,” reports Swiss beard and dog Professor Andreas Gutzeit in Metro.
In fact, just 23 of the 30 test dogs from different breeds had the same ‘high microbial count’ as the human beards.
"On the basis of these findings, dogs can be considered as clean compared with bearded men," continued the cleanshaven Dr Gutzeit.
A ‘good time’ for dogs and scientists
It is not clear why the boffins were testing whether humans would be safe in dog scanners, but there may be a clue in the scientist’s name: Gutzeit is German for ‘good time.’ Perhaps when you’re a scientist you can do what you like.
But a ‘good time’ is certainly not what bearded men will be having in the wake of this devastating research. We already know that nearly half of the Earth’s women refuse to sleep with beardy types. Now the rest of them will be asking serious questions about pillow hygiene.
Trendwatchers will be keen to see if women start ditching their boyfriends for canine companions – while the moment is ripe for good-time scientists to start comparing the relative cleanliness of human beards and the face fur of beardy dogs.