The university of life

the eyebrow

The eyebrow is one of the stranger structural elements on the human face. They sit just above the eyes, but their function is still largely a matter of scientific and pseudoscientific speculation. One proposal insists that the eyebrows prevent transpiration from running into the eye. But a recent scientific experiment, in which the subject’s eyebrow was shaven off, revealed no preferential occurrence of a transpirational stream into the eye. At the UOL we have noticed that the function of the eyebrow might only be present at the late adult male stage of life. It’s a well-known fact that the male eyebrow tends to get more bushy and increases in size later in life. Individual eyebrow hairs grow longer and the eyebrow field is extended in all directions. Another characteristic of late adult life is the presence of children and grandchildren. This simple fact cannot be a coincidence and therefore the function is easily distilled from both these truths. The late adult male eyebrow serves as a good handhold for the infant hand during early childhood when the infant lacks coordination. The grabbing and holding of the father figure reinforces the special bond between the two. Women unfortunately tend to fail to develop bushy eyebrows since their bond is reinforced through different means. We are not going to go in detail here on these, since they are topic of a different lecture. We do want to point out that extended facial hair is not restricted to the eyebrow area. Also the male nose and ears are subject to the evolutionary law of grip enhancement. This gives the toddlers hand several options for grabbing and will reduce the likelihood of the occurrence of an early disappointment of infant in case it fails to grab the hair handles. This ensures that the confidence of the infant has every opportunity of developing in the proper and desired direction.

Some speculation is still going on other evolutionary functions of the eyebrow. Especially the so-called ‘uni-brow’, in which the eye runs from left to right, or from right to left, without the characteristic break in the middle. The lack of distinction between the left and right eyebrow has been proven to be very confusing for the young infant. Instead of two target area’s there is only one. Later in life these deprived children will experience many psychological problems, often of a diverse nature. The medical board of the UOL therefore nowadays recommends that the males with the unibrow phenotype at least temporarily shave the center area of their unibrow. Or if that is impossible because of work requirements that the center of the unibrow is painted flesh colour with a washable and non-toxic paint. This will trick the infant in most cases. Since there are obvious problems with the unibrow concerning the relationship between adult and child scientist are puzzled about the frequent occurrence of the unibrow in the population. Recently it has been proposed that there is indeed a clear evolutionary advantage to the unibrow. A certain subset of women was found to be attracted to the unibrow and found it simply irresistible. This behaviour is caused by a freak mutation in a gene previously linked to intelligence. This small population of women therefore caused an evolutionary drive in the male population towards the unibrow. As a result a comparable size of the male population is now specialized in the unibrow as a sexual strategy.

Although the eyebrow has been under close scientific scrutiny in the recent years much is still unknown about this wondrous facial structure. We expect that many new finds will surface in the next few years.


Professor at the UOL

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