What was the purpose of "Asian" eyes?

I'm not trying to bring up race or anything, but I was curious as to what advantage having "squinter" eyes had to Asiatic people.

Also, why didn't other ethnicities receive the thinner eyes?


As a side note before ignorant people start answering: I am Asian, and I'm just curious. No, need to call people racist, folks.

Thanks in advance to all who answer, intelligently .

21 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    By Asian you mean people of Mongolian stock, not people from India, Pakistan, etc. right? Because in the US , "Asian" means people with narrow eyes, high cheek bones and straight black hair. ( In the UK it means Balgladeshi/Pakistani, etc.)

    Is that what you mean when you say Asian?

    Assuming you mean people that look like Jackie Chan, right?

    Anyway, humans are from Africa, but a branch of them separated and ended up in Siberia wa-a-a-y back. Siberia is cold. Very cold.

    Over thousands of years they stayed there, developed a broad cushion on the face to keep it warm and smaller eye openings to protect the eyes from blizzards and the white snow and the reflections of the sun on it.

    Then, they multiplied and populated the whole Asian territory. Then, they emigrated and ended up in Hawaii and NY China Town and Monterey Park, etc.

    But they have only been out of Siberia for a couple of thousand years, so they still preserve those characteristics.

    The following physical anthropology discussion only refers to Asians with an ancient indigenous history to the Asian continent in their historical location of origin and not Asians who are the descendents of recent immigrants to Asia or Asians who have moved from their ancestral land to a different location in Asia.

    Asian Eyes Climatic Adaptation

    Asian eyes vary because they are adapted to different climates. In the cold climate of the Far East, Far East Asians have more fat on their eyelids which causes an inner eyelid fold. (Coon, paragraph 28) This fat warms the eyes, conserving body heat.(Wilson, paragraph 20)(Hotep, paragraph 4) Conversely, in the hot climates of Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent Asians have eyes adapted to heat. These eyes have limited fat above their eyes. This makes their eyeballs look sunken into their skull and the spherical shape of their eyes to stand out clearly.

    Asian Eyes Folding

    Outer and inner folds are opposites of each other. The inner fold is the inverse of the outer fold. In this structure, the eyelid visibly has no folds. The folds occur on the inside. After going down the to the foot of the eyelid, the eyelid curves upward and back downwards until it touches the eye. This causes a fold which is covered from sight. This process creates an inner fold. Far East Asians usually have an inner eyelid fold. In contrast, the outer eyefold is the inverse of the inner fold. In this structure, the eyelid visibly has one or more folds on the eyelid. The eyelid has little fat underneath, so it creaces visibly. Subcontinent Asians (Meronk, paragraph 2) and Southeast Asians usually have an outer eyelid fold.

    Eye folding is like a human belly. The inner fold is like a human with a fat abdomen. This person's abdomen extends out so much that it causes a bulge. This bulge causes an inner fold underneath the belly. This is not visible from the outside observor because it is an inner fold. This is similar to the inner eyelid fold. Far East Asians usually have an inner eyelid fold. (Meronk, paragraph 1) In contrast, the outer eyelid fold is much like a dessicated person whose belly creaces when they bend. A very skinny person with no fat on their abdomen has creaces when they bend forward. This is similar to the creaces caused by bending in the outer eyelid fold. Subcontinent Asians and Southeast Asians usually have an outer eyelid fold.

    Asian eyes Asian eyes monolid epicanthal fold

    Asian eyes Asian eyes monolid epicanthal fold Asian eyes Asian eyes epicanthal fold monolid

    Asian Eyes Bulge

    Asian eyes Asian eyes monolid epicanthal fold

    Asian eyes Asian eyes monolid epicanthal fold Asian eyes Asian eyes epicanthal fold monolid

    Asian eyes do not occur in a strict dichotemy of outer or inner eye folds; Asian eyes occur in degrees of difference. The whole concept of why the eyelid folds has to do with fat above the eye. The fat causes the eyelid to bulge in high amounts. This bulging causes an inner fold when its weight overcomes the skin's elastic nature. The skin's elastic nature means it tries to remain taught rather than loose and wrinkly. This is again similar to the belly metaphor. In the belly metaphor it is not useful to talk about bellies as having inner or outer folds. It is far more accurate to think in terms of degrees of fat content. In the eyelid, it is also useful to think in degrees of difference. (Relethford, page 182)

    Asian eyes Asian eyes monolid epicanthal fold

    Asian eyes Asian eyes monolid epicanthal fold Asian eyes Asian eyes epicanthal fold monolid

    Asian Eyes Color

    Asians collectively have the full spectrum of human eye colors. Eye color is polygenic so it does not come in discrete colors, but rather a continuous spectrum from green to blue to brown. Far East Asians usually have brown eyes, but sometimes naturally have green, green/blue or blue eyes. Southeast Asians also mostly have brown eyes although a few naturally have green, green/blue or blue eyes. Subcontinent Asians have a greater percentage of people with natural blue, blue/green and green eyes, but mostly they have brown eyes.

    Eye color is caused by melanin. (Coon, paragraph 20) This may be why Asians usually have dark brown eyes, being that they are usually a dark skinned people. Blue eyes are caused by an absence of brown melanin, although the exact mechanism is determined by couple genes which are independent of skin and hair coloration.(Rincon) As eyes get darker due to brown melanin, they turn green. Green eyes are actually a mixture of brown and blue colors. The brown of melanin is actually dark yellow, so yellow and blue pigment combine to make green eyes.

    Epicanthic Fold

    The epicanthic fold is different from the inner fold. The epicanthic fold is a piece of skin that sheathes the tear duct.(Orphandoctor, paragraph 12)(Archaeology Wordsmith, paragraph 1) It names stems from epi- (covering) and -canthis (inner part of the eye). (Owens) It curves upwards near the nose out towards the eyebrows. The epicanthic fold cane be seen in all children but is retained in the adult versions of Far East and Southeast Asians. In other populations the epicanthic fold goes away when the nasal bridge starts to jut out, pulling the skin causing the epicanthic fold to become taut.(Gould) Unlike other populations, Far East and Southeast Asian populations do not have their nasal bridge project out, resulting in the retention of this childish physical trait.

    Source(s): Works Cited Robert Jurmain, Lynn Kilgore, Wenda Trevathan, and Harry Nelson. Introduction to Physical Anthropology. 9th ed. (Canada: Thompson Learning, 2003) Coon, Carleton S. The Races of Europe. Distribution of Bodily Characters. August 11, 2006. <http://www.snpa.nordish.net/chapter-VIII5.htm Owens, Thomas A. Medline Plus. 2006. September 9, 2006. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/00... Meronk, Frank. Meronk Eyelid Plastic Surgery Center. Asian Eyelid Surgery Resource. 2006. September 9, 2006. http://www.drmeronk.com/asian/asian-terminology.ht... Orphandoctor. Health Issues in Chinese Children. 1999. September 9, 2006. http://www.orphandoctor.com/medical/regional/china... Archaeology Wordsmith. 2006. September 9, 2006. http://www.reference-wordsmith.com/cgi-bin/lookup.... Wilson. Climate and the Human body. 2003. September 14, 2006. http://archive.1september.ru/eng/2003/29/1.htm John Relethford, The Human Species: An introduction to Biological Anthropology, 5th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003). Hotep, Amon. Race, Genetics History. 2000. September 14, 2006. http://www.raceandhistory.com/historicalviews/rgh.... Gould, Stephan J. Ontogeny and Phylogeny:Bibliographic Excerpts. 1997. October 27, 2006. http://www.serpentfd.org/a/gouldstephenj1977.html Rincon, Paul. BBC News. "Genetics of Eye Color Unlocked." 2006. January 27, 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6195091....
  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    What really irks me about it is that the very same people who say that "adult shelter dogs' temperaments are unpredictable" and "I can't train them because they're too old" and "they may have problems" are the ones who (1) shouldn't be raising puppies and (2) would benefit the MOST from adopting an adult dog from a rescue whose personality was already known and who's had some basic training. If you (general "you") can't train an adult dog or fix minor problems like skittishness or bad house manners, you ain't got no business raising puppies - because the latter is more difficult, and if you can't deal with these minor issues then YOUR puppy is going to have behavior problems from all the mistakes you make. I've fixed dogs with skittishness, animal aggression, human aggression - highly UNadoptable dogs from the side of the road who would have been instantly euthanized at a shelter - even one dog that was totally feral. ALL were easier and less time-consuming than raising a puppy. And I'm not a professional and never sought professional help. That said, I can understand why people wouldn't want to get a PUPPY - period, from a breeder or shelter or whatever - because they are actually less predictable than adult dogs (breed is only a part of personality; it certainly doesn't tell the whole story). Personally, I look for certain personality characteristics in a dog and so I won't adopt or buy any puppies. But people entertain this myth that a puppy will somehow absorb their personality or something and be perfectly compatible with them. It's hogwash. Mostly, though, I think it's based on the puppy cuteness factor and because people treat dogs like trendy accessories. People care about the wee little helpless furball and not so much the adult dog, and people care more about the dog's enhancing their social status rather than being a member of the family.

  • 4 years ago

    Asian Eyes

  • 5 years ago

    Given the strong selection for these genes, in 'Native' American populations, from Inuit people, to Sioux & Cherokee, to Andean people, to Amazonian people, it becomes clear that narrower eyes have been selected for in humans crossing over to the American continent prior to the Holocene. Hence the strong argument for natural selection by cold, wintery conditions as those encountered in Siberia. The albedo effect is stronger in icy landscapes, meaning more sunlight enters the eyes, rendering modern humans without such narrow eyelids snowblind after a couple of hours already. Those would have been the first ones eaten by wild animals on a very long foot journey east or they would just freeze to their death. In extreme conditions, eyeballs are even subject to freezing, which the added fat in narrow eyes also helps prevent. It is most likely that there was a natural selection during the Last Glacial Maximum by its icy conditions. Only the genetic apt for such environment could survive a life in Beringia and make the crossing. A similar story goes for human migration to the far east of Asia, minus the southern parts where the climate was a lot milder.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    What was the purpose of &quot;Asian&quot; eyes?

    I&#39;m not trying to bring up race or anything, but I was curious as to what advantage having &quot;squinter&quot; eyes had to Asiatic people.

    Also, why didn&#39;t other ethnicities receive the thinner eyes?

    Source(s): purpose quot asian quot eyes: https://shortly.im/wDQV7
  • 4 years ago

    Epicanthic Fold Evolution

  • 1 decade ago

    As an evolutionary trait, it doesn't have to confer an advantage; it simply has to not be a disadvantage that either gets you killed before you mate or keeps you from mating.

    My guess would be that it was, at one point, a genetic quirk that simply didn't (and still doesn't) hinder reproduction so it propagated through the culture.

    By the way, all humans while in the womb, share the same large fatty deposit above the eye that gives Asians their unique eye shape. Everyone else simply loses that before birth. Like I said, at some point in the history of Asia the people ended up with a genetic quirk that made them keep it.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    not all asian have squinter eyes. just those who live in eastern asia (japan, korea) and in mainland china, mongolian and taiwan. Even there not all people have squinter eyes. People who develop to be such are those who lived with some extreme climate such as blizzard and sandstorm also the many sunlight exposure they get in time in summer. You should look to the upper comments, he/she had made you such a long essay, that would get at least a B+ if it were a summer homework.....

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    the asian facial structure, flatter nose, broader eyes, epicanthic fold etc probably evolved to cope with heavy snow, blizzard conditions. A flatter face is less prone to frosbite in their extremities.. the fatty fold of skin over the eyes probably protects better against driving snow and smaller eyes overall is a response to light coming at you from all directions in snow.

  • 1 decade ago

    The eyes are not technically slanted, but have an additional fold of skin covering the outer lid, referred to as the epicanthus. Through natural selection and adaptation, the human body makes adjustments to protect it from various environments such as extremely sunny climes and locales.

  • 1 decade ago

    dont know it was just the way they are made. it probably does not have a purpose just the way the race is. that is all. just like why do some people have blue green or brown eyes there is not purpose to it. it is just genetics. Asians have different kinds of eyes shapes they are all not the same.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.