Climate Shaped The Human Nose

Posted: Mar 17 2017, 10:19am CDT | by , Updated: Mar 17 2017, 12:05pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 

Climate of Your Ancestors Shaped Your Nose
Differences in the human nose may have accumulated among populations through time as a result of a random process called genetic drift. However, divergent selection -- variation in natural selection across populations -- may also be the reason that different populations have differing noses. Teasing the two apart is difficult, especially in humans. Credit: Getty Images
  • Nose form was shaped by climate
 

It so happens to be the case that not just genes but the local and ancestral climate may have influenced the shape of your nose.

Look around the world and you will notice that there are a variety of nose shapes. Large, tiny, spread-out, narrow, lengthy, short, pug, aquiline, sausage-shaped and prominent. Thus we see that noses come in all shapes and sizes.

Although we inherit our nose shape from our parents and ethnic background, it is the specific climate we belong to which has a defining effect on how our nose looks to be like to others. 

Recent evolution shaped many things including hair color, skin hue and the features of the human face. Nose characteristics across the board were examined by the scientists.

Not only geography but temperature levels and humidity influenced the size and shape of your nose. One of the biggest functions of the nose is to regulate air quality which reaches the lungs for respiration.

The width, space in between and height of the nostrils mattered in the end. Also the nose ridge length, its protrusion, externality and surface area of the nostrils played a vital role in the equation.   

3D facial imaging was used to study the various nose shapes and sizes. The variations in noses may have accumulated over time due to a process known as genetic drift.

Then on second thought, divergent selection too may have been responsible for the whole thing. Differing populations have different noses as is evident from the research data.

Disentangling so many factors is a backbreaking task indeed. The width of the nostrils and the measurements of the base of the nose showed so many differences that they could not have been solely due to genetic drift.  

Natural selection was the real reason behind the phenomenon. Local climate was another big component of the study of noses. Wider noses were more often found in hot and humid climates.

Narrow noses are the norm in cool and dry climates. The inner nasal area serves the purpose of conditioning the air that enters the lungs so that it is moist and warm.

However, the cold-dry and warm-humid equation for nose shape is not the only one to take into account. There are marked differences between the noses of females and males too.

Male noses are larger than those of females. This sexual dimorphism is built into the very fiber of nature. Furthermore, judgments of beauty are based on nose shape and size. These evaluations differ based on the culture they are a part of.   

The findings of this study got published in the journal PLOS Genetics.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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