Image Credit: Flickr User Horia Varlan, via CC

We know a lot about most organs in our body, and their crucial functions. We have read about how brain is the boss of our body and, how heart pumps blood to our body and keeps it going. We read about the eyes, hands and legs, how they are so highly important and how do they function. But, we rarely read about those two tiny patches of thin and delicate hair on our face, just above our eyes, without which we would look like aliens.

Did you guess what those furry patches are? Yes ! Eyebrows. Just imagine your face without them and you’ll burst out laughing! We are so used to them on our faces. Eyebrows are a very significant part of our appearance. Have you observed that different people have different types of eyebrows – thin, thick, bushy, long, short!

Our brows have something more to do than just appearance. Over the years, we have evolved from being apes to humans , and in the process we have got rid of many not so useful body parts. Then why did we never got rid of the eyebrows? How are they useful?

First of all, eyebrows help in forming expressions. Thus, they are an important aspect of human communication. If you have ever sketched faces or drawn cartoons you would know that how changing the eyebrows changes the expression on your character’s face. Sometimes, can give a look of what is known as a false facial expression. For example, a person’s eyebrows could be naturally shaped to give a perception as if the person was grumpy, but that really isn’t true.

Some scientists believe that during evolution when early hominids( family of primates related to humans) started sleeping on the ground, away from the trees, eyebrows provided safety from predators. How? Their shut eyes with thick eyebrows arched up and eyelashes pointing down, gave an illusion of eyespot, an eye-like marking. Eyespots gave illusion of open eyes. Predators thought that hominids were not sleeping, and kept away from attacking hominids.

There is another important function that eyebrows serve. They prevent water, sweat and often tiny dirt particles from falling into eye sockets. The arched shape of the eyebrows diverts the sweat and water to the sides of our faces. Imagine, without eyebrows, if every drop of sweat from your forehead plopping straight into your eyes. Wouldn’t it be irritating?

Did you know that while eyebrows can grow back, but they are the slowest growing hair on the body?


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