We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is the Supraorbital Ridge?

By Jillian O Keeffe
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An anatomical term, the supraorbital ridge refers to the ridge of bone above each eye. This ridge differs between species, and also tends to look different between genders. They act as part of the structural strength of the skull, among other functions.

Human eyes are located within indentations in the skull. These indentations are bordered on the top by the suprorbital region. The supraorbital ridge is one part of this anatomical area, and refers specifically to the bone that curves around the top of the eye socket and under the eyebrows. Alternate terms for the area include the supraorbital arch and brow ridge. Above each supraorbital ridge is the frontal eminence of the skull, which lies under most of the forehead.

Different species, including that of the ape and monkey have variations in skull shape, and therefore have a supraorbital ridge structure that is distinct to each species. Humans are no exception, and ancient versions of humans also display identifiable types of supraorbital ridge. Even in modern humans, a diversity of ridge types exist.

Evolution means that skull shapes and other physical differences show adaptations to environment and survival pressures. Anthropologists, who study humans, and ancestors of humans, can differentiate fossil skulls into species of human-like creatures through features such as supraorbital ridges. The Neanderthal, for example, has very prominent brow ridges compared to modern humans. This is because present-day humans have a vertical forehead, and the Neanderthal has a forehead that slopes sharply back from above the eyes.

Modern human women and men have subtly different types of brow ridges. Masculine people tend to have thicker and more obvious brows, with a forehead that angles back slightly, while women have flatter brows and a more straight-up-and-down forehead. Even different races of modern humans can show recognizable differences in brow ridge appearance. For example, some native Australians have a single ridge running above the eyes and nose. Most of the world's population have two separate ridges, one over each eye.

The supraorbital ridges also provide protection for the eyes from accidental injury. Even nerves and blood vessels use the brow ridge bone for their own purposes. Above each eye in a modern human is a small hole in the bone, or a little dent in the bone, where nerve bundles and veins can run through from inside the skull to the outside. These features are missing in some ancestral species, and so are another feature that can help anthropologists distinguish between species.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon931398 — On Feb 08, 2014

What might the shape of the skull and the supraorbital height tell us about each species?

By aLFredo — On Sep 21, 2011

I did not know that the supraorbital ridge was the ridge above the eye. It makes sense though since orbital has to do with the eye, I think.

I also did not know that the supraorbital bone structure of the skull has changed so much over time and species, and even race!

I think my supraorbital ridge seems to protude more than some people's, and my ancestors are mostly from Germany, so maybe there is some connection between the two. That would be interesting to find out if there is a correlation between my protruding supraorbital ridge and my German ancestry!

I use the supraorbital ridge as the cut-off line for my eye-makeup. Any eye makeup past this ridge makes me look a little too drastic and colorful, in my opinion.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.