Friday, April 26, 2019

The Bigger the Nostril, the Hotter the Air

It has been found through a study by a team of scientists from Pennsylvania State University that the shape of one’s nostril may share a relationship with the climate of the region that that person’s ancestors descended from. While noses are used for smelling, they are also used to warm and humidify the air that we breathe. It had been found that the more narrow the nostril, the more efficient the nose would be at warming and humidifying the air. Thus, people that descend from colder climates have more narrow nostrils, as they need noses that are more efficient at warming the cold air, and people that descend from warmer climates have wider nostrils, as they do not need noses that are as efficient at warming the already-warm air. It is stated, however, that the climates of past ancestors’ regions are not deciding factors on nose width; other genes may come into play that affect the shape of one’s nose. 
Image result for nostril

I love studies that center around the morphology of humans, so of course I was very interested reading this article. Reading articles that center around humans evolving to have advantageous traits is so interesting to me because I love to think that there are some humans out there that for some reason have higher-functioning noses than I do. It intrigues me that a larger-nostriled friend might have an easier time breathing in the Canadian wilderness than I would, simply because of the morphology of their nose. The study does make sense, anyhow, that humans in colder regions would evolve to breathe easier, and humans in warmer climates would evolve as to not have noses that are too efficient at heating already-warm air. It makes sense that someone like myself, who descends from a tropical country like the Philippines, has such large nostrils. 


  1. I agree with the fact that many of the studies done about human morphology are really fascinating, especially this study regarding the nostril size of humans from different areas of the world. There is such a wide range of variation among humans so it would make sense that many of these differences would be caused by the different climates and environments that our early ancestors would have inhabited.

  2. I clicked on the link and read the article and I as well found it to be very interesting. I never knew that the shape of one's nostril was determined based on the climate temperatures that one's ancestors lived in.

  3. I found this to be very interesting, although part of me is wondering if the shape of one's nostril could be affected by the altitude at which their ancestors lived, seeing as higher altitudes normally correlate to colder temperatures. I believe that could be an interesting area for further study.

  4. Many anthropologists speculate that Neandertals had quite protruding, large-bridged noses, possibly owing to the fact that they evolved in Eurasia and were cold adapted. These findings would corroborate this knowledge.