Scientists have discovered, eyebrows are crucial to human evolution because through eyebrows our predecessors first learnt to communicate. The evolution of brows to express emotions helped early humans to convey messages of recognition or sympathy, research by the university of York found.
Scientists believe this was crucial because it enabled them to work together, rather than alone in the wild. It is also probably why modern humans have developed a smooth forehead with more visible brows, compared to the pronounced brow of early hominins, they said. They then discounted two theories commonly put forward to explain its protruding brow ridges- one being that they were needed to fill the space where the flat brain cases and eye sockets of archaic hominins met, and the second being that it acted to stablise their skulls from the force of chewing.It led them to the possibility that the evolutionary changes were linked to social factors.
The researchers explained communicative foreheads started off as a side-effect of our faces getting gradually smaller over the past 100,000years.They said the process speed up in last 20,000 years as we switched from hunter gatherers to agriculturalists – a lifestyle with less variety in both diet and physical effort Co-author Dr. Penny spikins at York’s Department of Archaeology said:” Modern humans are the last surviving hominin.
While our sister species the Neanderthals were dying out, we were rapidly colonizing the globe and surviving in extreme environments. This had a lot to do with our ability to create large social networks- we know, for example, that prehistoric modern humans avoided inbreeding and went to stay with friends in distant locations during hard times.Dr Spikins says in the study that eyebrow movements allow us to express complex emotions, as well as perceive the emotions of others. A rapid “eyebrow flash”, for instance, is a “cross-cultural sign of recognition and openness to social interaction”, while “Pulling our eyebrows up at the middle is an expression of sympathy”. She added: “Eyebrows are the missing part of the puzzle of how modern humans managed to get on so much better with each other than other now-extinct hominins.”