The ability to raise an eyebrow in distrust or to furrow it in sympathy may have given our species an evolutionary edge, researchers in Britain said Monday.
Highly mobile eyebrows gave humans non-verbal communication skills required to establish large, social networks which allowed for greater cooperation and better survival odds, they said.
“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,” said Penny Spikins from the University of York, co-author of a study published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.
Spikins and a team examined the function of pronounced, bony brow ridges in our early ancestors, and to understand why we shed them over time.
Some research had suggested that a large brow ridge helped protect our forebears’ skulls from damage resulting from forceful chewing, or that it filled a void between the brain case and eye sockets.