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Why Expressive Brows Might Have Mattered in Human Evolution
Stern brows and harsh lives
When you think of Neanderthals, what springs to mind? If it’s big, strong, hulking men and women with bushy eyebrows and a forehead that juts out over fierce eyes, you’re spot on! These early humans had large brows, and top scientists suggest this thick layer of bone protruding from their foreheads may have helped them to withstand vicious blows to the face throughout their tough lives. Their ferocious appearance may also have helped them to protect their resources by scaring intruders off. They are known to have stalked and hunted huge animals, such as mammoths and bison. These hunter-gatherers lived in small social groups and relied heavily on aggression and violence for survival in a harsh world.
For a time, Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens co-existed. These two groups of humans sometimes interbred, and in this way, Neanderthals were able to pass their genetic legacy on. Indeed, many modern humans today still carry up to 2% Neanderthal DNA. However, they ultimately died out as an independent grouping of humans, with Homo Sapiens emerging as the dominant species of human beings. As early modern humans evolved, they gradually lost those large prominent forehead ridges and stern fixed brows.
Friendlier faces and team spirit
Teamwork and communication were crucial for our early Homo Sapiens ancestors to survive and thrive. With their new, flatter faces these early humans were able to use their forehead muscles to maneuver their eyebrows. This made a huge difference as with just a few twitches of their eyebrows, they found they were able express a wide range of emotions. Think of all the emotions we still use our eyebrows to express today: surprise, anger, confusion, sympathy and relief.
This really helped our ancestors socially. Being able to read each other’s emotions strengthened social bonds in both families and wider community groups. Better communication skills made early humans more efficient at important group activities such as trading, fishing and hunting. Before currency was used, people relied on complex systems of bartering to trade and covered large distances to exchange items such as furs, tools, jewelry and food. Non-verbal communication such as expressing emotion through brow movements were useful tools when trading with people from groups who spoke a different language or dialect. Expressive brows also reduced misunderstandings, which meant that fewer of our ancestors died in brawls. On the face of it, eyebrows may just seem like nature’s way of keeping sweat out of our eyes, but dig deeper and moveable brows may just have ensured the survival of our entire species!
Securing a mate
One of the key elements of human evolution is to secure a healthy, attractive mate to continue the species, and throughout the centuries, brows have been considered important in determining attractiveness. So, the obsession with brows is far from a recent trend! Humans have been plucking, threading, waxing, coloring and thickening their brows for millennia.
In Roman times, unibrows were in, with women penciling in fake hair. Medieval Japanese women would shave their eyebrows off completely before drawing on artistic replacements in willow ash. The Ancient Egyptians favored a dark brow, which they achieved by painting on thick black oxide. Although we don’t use black oxide today, brow makeup can still be challenging to remove with regular cleansers, which is why the shape of the Boi Bye Make Up Removing Pen is the perfect solution.
Using our beautiful brows today
Modern humans rely on communication and highly value emotional intelligence, especially in our romantic relationships, so subconsciously we are still drawn to people with charismatic brows. Indeed, how our eyebrows are shaped alters our entire facial impression. If eyes are the window to the soul, our brows are their curtains, and as everyone knows, accessorizing is key!
A popular beauty treatment today is Botox. It smooths out the marks of time but limits the movement of forehead muscles, which greatly hampers people’s ability to non-verbally express emotion. Many people decide against Botox for this reason alone.
Today, there are a few different fashionable brow styles to consider. From the artfully wild-looking power brows beloved of Cara Delevingne to the slender, sculpted and boldly defined style of Kim Kardashian, there is a shape to suit every face. While thick, healthy-looking brows are in style, if you feel your brows are sometimes a little too reminiscent of our Neanderthal forebears, our Gold Mini Scissors are perfect for gently taming caveman-like brows.