Shape of human nose influenced by climate: Study

  • Get News Alerts

If you are not satisfied with the shape of your nose, blame it on climate, not your parents or grandparents.

In a study published this week in the journal PLOS Genetics, researchers from the Pennsylvania State University found that human noses may have been shaped, at least in part, by a long process of adaptation to local climate conditions.

Generally, wider noses are more common in warm and humid climates, while narrower noses are more common in cold and dry climates, it said.

The findings were based on an examination of the size and shape of noses on people with West African, South Asian, East Asian, or Northern European ancestry.

The researchers looked at the width of the nostrils, the distance between nostrils, the height of the nose, nose ridge length, nose protrusion, external area of the nose and the area of the nostrils by using 3D facial imaging.

It showed that the widt­h of the nostrils is strongly correlated with temperature and absolute humidity, but not the result of a random process called genetic drift.

One purpose of the nose is to condition the air that we breathe, to ensure that it is warm and moist when it reaches the lungs, which helps to prevent infections.

The current study found the narrower nostrils seem to alter the airflow so that the mucous-covered inside of the nose can humidify and warm the air more efficiently.

"It was probably more essential to have this trait in cold and dry climates," it said.

"People with narrower nostrils probably fared better and had more offspring than people with wider nostrils, in colder climates. This lead to a gradual decrease in nose width in populations living far away from the equator."

The nose has had a complex evolutionary history, however, and researchers suspected that additional factors, such as cultural preferences when picking a mate, have also played a role in shaping the nose.

Investigations into nose shape evolution and climate adaptation may have medical as well as anthropological implications.

Studies of human adaptation are essential to our understanding of disease and yield insights into why certain conditions, such as sickle cell anemia, lactose intolerance or skin cancer, are more common in certain populations.

The researchers said that it may be worth investigating whether the shape of the nose and the size of the nasal cavity impact one's risk of contracting a respiratory disease when living in a climate that is different from one's ancestors.

Comments

More News

  • 8 killed as bus carrying Nepali workers collides with another bus in Malaysia

    8 killed as bus carrying Nepali workers collides with another bus in Malaysia At least eight people were killed and 33 others injured in a bus collision along the expressway in the Malaysian northern state of Penang on Tuesday morning, New Straits Times reported.

  • Dengue not behind Sah's death: Jhapa Public Health Office

    The Jhapa District Public Health Office has clarified that dengue so far has not caused any death in Jhapa. Umesh Sah, 40, of Birtamodh municipality-4, Birtabazaar, who supposedly died of dengue infection, breathed his last due to other reasons, said Resource Person of Jhapa District Public Health Office, Kul Bahadur Poudel.

  • Foreigners toiling kind labor for school building construction

    A team of foreigners has been physically engaged in the construction of a building of Mangal Primary School at Shuklaphanta municipality-9, Sisawa. A group of total 22 foreign youths, professionally associated to Care Nepal, is donating their kind labor for the construction of a three-room school building from Monday. Build on Nepal is providing financial and technical support for the construction of the school building.

  • Tourists' attraction to rafting on rise

    Tourists' attraction to rafting on rise Tourists are increasingly attracted to take joys of rafting in the Madi and Seti rivers. With the onset of tourism session, the influx of tourists for rafting in the rivers is increasing.

  • Community forests earn millions from resin sale

    The resins available at the community forests have become a boon for the community forestry users groups and local governments of the district.

Opinion

  • Amendment of Education Act: A betrayal to capable candidates Amendment of Education Act: A betrayal to capable candidates

    Not all, but many of the temporary teachers who have been wishing to become permanent, no doubt, appointed on the basis of their political ideologies. They couldn't succeed in the examinations despite repeated attempts. They carried the bags of those parties during their teaching career.

    Manoj Sapkota

  • The Doklam dilemma The Doklam dilemma

    Being a buffer state between the two giant neighbors, Nepal should conduct its foreign policy vis-à-vis China and India in a very sensitive manner. Nepal has always maintained that it would not allow its soil to be used against any neighbor. At the same time, Nepal should make sure that its own national interests are never compromised.

    Gaurab Shumsher Thapa

Blog

  • To dogs, with love To dogs, with love

    Many find talking about basic animal rights stupid when no basic rights of people are guaranteed. However, there are still few people who are aware how humane behavior has turned toward cruelty and indifference which can be vividly seen through the way street dogs and other animals are abused around us.

    Sujita Shrestha

  • Unanswered questions on recent leftist alliance Unanswered questions on recent leftist alliance

    Although they seem to be very much communist while in opposition, whether about the 'Indian semi-colonial status' in Nepal or American hegemony, this has never been evident while they actually come into power and rule Nepal.

    Dr Chandra Sharma Poudyal

Readers Column

  • What we need to learn from Thailand?

    Thailand is a developing country. But it seemed like a developed country at first sight. It is hard to believe that Thailand is a developing country. There are big buildings, and clean and broad roads. The city is clean with no trace of pollution.

  • Traffic Police in Kathmandu

    As busy and hassling as the traffic system in Kathmandu is, the Traffic Police here have to handle an equally strenuous job. Over 1,400 traffic officers in and around the Kathmandu Valley battle against the pestering traffic and air pollution each day.

Popular

Recommended

Suchanapati