A new study has found out that the shape of a person’s’ nose is determined by their ancestral climate. It means that the shape of a person’s nose is a certain way because of the climate their ancestors originally came from.
The PLOS Genetics study said that it is because people’s noses are designed to hear the air that it inhales to prevent illness or damage to the airways and lungs. Therefore, the ancestors of a person with a narrow nose may have come from colder parts of the world, while the ancestors of a person with a wider nose may have come from a relatively warmer region.
Commenting on the findings of the study, the research author Dr. Arslan Zaidi said that the physical traits which are directly exposed to weather conditions experience natural selection and evolve faster which results in gradual changing of their physical attributes according to their surroundings, according to the New York Times.
“This is one of the reasons why we looked at nose shape,” Dr. Zaidi said. He added that learning the reason behind why the shapes of people’s noses evolved could help scientists have a better understanding of their potential health risks and diseases.
In order to reach the findings, the researchers at Penn State university followed the theory of British anthropologist Arthur Thompson known as the Thompson’s Nose Rule. The theory stated that natural selection favored noses that were better at heating and moisturizing air in cold and dry local climates.
The researchers then measured the nose height, nose length, protrusion and nostril width of volunteers and compared the results with the environment of their ancestors to find out the association. The researchers involved a total of 476 participants from various countries including West Africa, East Asia, Northern Europe, and South Asia to “maximize the distance across the populations.”
After evaluation, the researchers found out that nostril width was not as indicative of someone’s ancestral climate as skin pigmentation is.