Why men’s nostrils are larger than women’s


It has long been hypothesized that compared with women, men naturally have bigger noses. Now, a new study from researchers at the University of Iowa confirms that this is true – stating than on average, men’s noses are 10% larger than women’s noses.

Based on the detectives, who examined nose size in European populations, the dimensions difference is because of different body build between both sexes, alongside different energy demands.

They explain that generally, guys have more lean body mass than women, meaning they require more oxygen to inspire muscle growth and maintenance. They feel guys have bigger nostrils to allow them to inhale more oxygen, that is then moved towards the bloodstream before reaching muscle.

To achieve their findings, printed within the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, the detectives examined the nose size and development of 38 people of European descent who have been an element of the Iowa Facial Growth Study. The participants were signed up for the research from three-years-old until their mid-20s.

Each participant had regular internal and exterior dimensions of the nose taken through the study period.

Differences in nose size begins at puberty

The results of the study revealed that from birth until puberty, girls and boys generally have the same nose size. But from age 11 is when the size differences begin to occur, with the researchers finding an average 10% increased size in male nose size, compared with females.

4 scans of skulls - top 2 female, lower 2 maleInvestigators have found that on average, men’s noses (pictured at bottom) are 10% bigger than women’s noses (top), due to the need to inhale more oxygen to maintain their larger muscle mass.
Image credit: UI College of Dentistry

“Even when your body size is identical, males have bigger nostrils, because a lot of body consists of that costly tissue. And, it’s at adolescence these variations really remove,Inch describes Nathan Holton, assistant professor from the College of Dentistry in the College of Iowa and lead study author.

Holton told Medical News Today:

“This pattern mirrors what we see in energetically variables such as oxygen consumption, caloric intake and metabolic rates.”

“Moreover, this pattern is different from what we see when look at overall facial size. For a given body size, males show a disproportionately larger face as early as 3 years of age, perhaps earlier.

This suggests that while there is an association between overall facial size and nasal size – which we know from our previous work – there is a component of nasal size that may be influenced by body mass and oxygen requirements.”

Smaller noses than our ancestors

The investigators say their findings also explain why humans today have smaller noses than our ancestors, such as the Neanderthals.

They explain that distant relatives possessed more muscle mass and therefore required bigger noses in order to maintain that muscle. Because humans today have less muscle mass, there is no need for larger noses.

Holton adds that modern humans also provide smaller sized rib cages and lung area than our forefathers, emphasizing the truth that we currently don’t require just as much oxygen.

“So, in humans, the nose may become small, because our physiques have smaller sized oxygen needs than we have seen in archaic humans. All of this informs us physiologically how modern humans have altered using their forefathers,” Holton adds.

Even though the study was carried out using participants of European descent, Holton highlights the findings should affect other populations because variations within the men and women physiology are apparent across cultures and races.

However, Holton told Medical News Today the present study was created like a foundation better comprehend the developmental designs of nasal and the body size, and also the team’s next thing would be to work on creating an immediate link.

“This will include examining nasal size and variables, such as oxygen consumption, in study subjects so we can get a better handle on respiratory function and the size and shape of the nose,” he adds.

Earlier this year, Medical News Today reported on a study suggesting that men with wide faces trigger selfishness in others.


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