Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Anatomy for actors

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-06-17

Nature online (2008-06-16 doi:10.1038/news.2008.892) reports that anatomists have discovered 11 facial muscles that some people have, some don’t, and some people only have on one side.

  • Is the presence of most or all of these muscles correlated to success of actors, salespeople and deceivers (including politicians since TV)?
  • Might this explain great thespian families like Barrymores, Cusacks and Fondas? (In Oz, I don’t think the Donovans qualify, but maybe the Ottos do).
  • Can anatomical examinations advise children about acting careers, like we do biochemical tests specific for different sports?  Might such tests even help control pushy parents keen on turning their little darlings into film stars?
  • Might habitual fraudsters be sentenced to having the nerves to these extra muscles cut to bring them back to “normal”?

6 Responses to “Anatomy for actors”

  1. I can arch my left eyebrow much higher than my right eyebrow. And my left brow can arch independently of my right, but my right can’t arch independently at all. Perhaps this is the explanation! Weird, but fascinating.

  2. Dave Bath said

    Ditto for me… although it’s also the other way…. a frown on my left pulls my right eyebrow down too.

    Hmmm. I’ll note palmaris longus, which is somewhat similar… used for tensing the palmar fascia and useful for those gripping on to branches if you are an arboreal ape, or, in modern times, gymnasts on bars/rings, or perhaps onanists. Again, you can have it one arm or both, or none, like highly evolved little old me with ancestors coming down out of the trees before more simian types…. ;-)

    If anyone’s interested, I’ll tell you how to tell if you have one or two palmaris long(us|i) …. it’s pretty easy to do on yourself or others, and lets you make smartypants comments about evolutionary heritage, gymnastics, or onanism in the family.

    1. Lay your forearm flat on a table, palm up.
    2. Without lifting your forearm or wrist, raise your palm (fingers straight and at the same angle as your palm) to about 70 degrees from horizontal (20 from vertical) and get somebody to give resistance to further movement (they can put their palm across your fingers).
    3. If there is a thin stringlike thing barely under the skin of your wrist going into the middle of your hand (right between the “heels” of the palm), then that’s the palmaris longus.

    If it’s not so thin, and bilateral, you were probably VERY good on monkey bars as a kid.

  3. Yep, I’ve got two, and I’m the only woman I know who can do a chinup within 3 months of starting training at the gym. Fascinating!

  4. Dave Bath said

    Actually, palmaris longus has nothing to do with strength, but improves grip on branches/poles (marginally) more in an “anti-slip” manner by tightening the skin, and thus akin to playing golf with a nice set of well-fitting leather gloves versus a set of loose rubber gloves better suited to washing the dishes.

  5. Ahh, golf. Now there’s a game I can’t play…

  6. zombinol said

    That’s all very interesting, talking about golf, I’ve got quad 3rd molar hypodontia and I don’t have the usually associated ectodermal dysplasia but I can move my pinna and also my narls independently of each other.

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