A new study finds that there's a lot more to your nose than meets the eye.
A fascinating study has come to some interesting conclusions on how we got the shape of our nose, and its many variations.
Nose shapes vary widely by individual. They can be big, small, hooked, pointy, of snubbed. New research out of University College London explains just why this is, according to a statement.
Nose shape seems to us like nothing more than aesthetic feature, but scientists think there’s a lot more to them than meets the eye. Nose shapes may have evolved to suit different environments. Europeans tend to have narrower noses, possibly to adapt to a cold, drier climate, for example.
Scientists examined 6,000 people in South and Central America for their study. Scientists chose this group because Latin America has a pretty high level of biological diversity, including people with Caucasian, African, and Native American ancestry.
Scientists then analyzed the facial features of the participants and did 3D constructions for 3,000 of them. Then, the genomes were examined, and scientists identified three genes that drive bone and cartilage growth that seemed to influence nose shape.
“Few studies have looked at how normal facial features develop and those that have only looked at European populations, which show less diversity than the group we studied,” the first author of the report, Dr. Kaustubh Adhikari, UCL Cell & Developmental Biology, said in the statement. “What we’ve found are specific genes which influence the shape and size of individual features, which hasn’t been seen before. Finding out the role each gene plays helps us to piece together the evolutionary path from Neanderthal to modern humans. It brings us closer to understanding how genes influence the way we look, which is important for forensics applications.”
Added Professor Andrés Ruiz-Linares UCL Biosciences, who led the study: “It has long been speculated that the shape of the nose reflects the environment in which humans evolved. For example, the comparatively narrower nose of Europeans has been proposed to represent an adaptation to a cold, dry climate. Identifying genes affecting nose shape provides us with new tools to examine this question, as well as the evolution of the face in other species. It may also help us understand what goes wrong in genetic disorders involving facial abnormalities.”