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Face of a woman adorned with intricate facial tattoos a blend of traditional and contemporary styles. Source: Old Man Stocker/Adobe Stock

Why Are Humans So Vain Compared to Other Animals? (Video)


Across the expansive chronicles of human history, the pursuit of beauty and adornment has been a deeply ingrained aspect of our collective identity. Dating back to prehistoric times, early humans adorned themselves with jewelry, not merely as decorative embellishments, but as potent symbols of protection and status. The ancient practice of tattooing, initially rooted in therapeutic purposes, gradually evolved into elaborate designs that served as visible markers of societal roles and affiliations.

The evolution of cosmetics provides further testament to humanity's enduring fascination with enhancing appearance. From the medicinal origins of substances like kohl and henna to their transformation into symbols of beauty and cultural identity, cosmetics have played a multifaceted role in shaping societal norms and individual expression.

The civilizations of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome exemplified the intricate interplay between beauty practices and cultural values. Makeup became intertwined with religious beliefs and notions of inner virtue, reflecting ideals of aesthetic perfection and societal hierarchies.

Throughout history, beauty standards have evolved in response to changing social dynamics, technological innovations, and cultural exchanges. Yet, beneath the surface, the desire to adorn oneself often transcends mere aesthetics, serving as a means of asserting identity, belonging, and connection to shared traditions. By delving into the intricate nuances of human adornment, we gain profound insights into the complexities of our collective journey through time.

Top image: Face of a woman adorned with intricate facial tattoos a blend of traditional and contemporary styles. Source: Old Man Stocker/Adobe Stock              

By Robbie Mitchell



People are capable of expressing vanity in a way animals are not. However, that doesn't mean all animals are incapable of vanity. To give a cat, for example, a human ability of such expression would not be something I would want to see.

While I do agree that we’re a very vain species, we’re not alone in this category.  Many bird species strut their stuff, puff their feathers and sing distinctive courting songs.  In this respect, we’re one of many species who are vain.

It’s normal to want to look our best and other species do this as well.  Cats, for example are always licking their coats to spruce them up.  We like to think we’re the smartest of all animal species, but how do we know this for sure, when we can’t speak their languages?

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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