Huge naps may not be very aesthetic (this is debatable), but if it’s any consolation, they do have an advantage.
A study carried out by the University College of London has found that genes associated with large noses come from Neanderthals.
Just a couple of decades ago it was thought that Neanderthals, one of the human species that lived on Earth until 40,000 years ago, they had never been related to Homo Sapiens. I mean, us.
But the incredible advances in DNA analysis, they have completely changed our past. 15 years ago it was achieved sequencing the complete genome of Neanderthals… and it was discovered that up to 3% of our genes come from them.
New archaeological and genetic studies show that Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens coincided for thousands of years, and they mated. from there they were born hybrids which in turn became related to Homo Sapiens.
The result is that many people have up to 3% Neanderthal genes. Far from being a problem, if these genes have resisted evolution for thousands of generations, it is because They bring us benefits.
For example, it is known that there are Neanderthal genes that produce greater immune protection against diseases. And now we have discovered another.
We inherited the big nose from Neanderthals.
Geneticists at the University College of London have studied the noses of more than 6,000 volunteersas well as your DNA.
The researchers identified 33 genomic regions associated with face shape. In a particular region of the genome, called ATF3they discovered that many people had genetic material in this gene inherited from Neanderthalswhich contributed to a greater nasal height.
It is important to clarify that this neanderthal heritage does not refer to noses that are long or pointy, but to the ones that are bigger, from top to bottom. In this image you can see the hollow of the nose of a Homo Sapiens (left), in front of a Neanderthal (right):
The study also concludes that the fact that this neanderthal gene have survived for thousands of generations, since they became extinct 40,000 years ago, it is because gives a competitive advantage.
According to Dr. Qing Li of Fudan University, another of the study’s authors: “Since the nose helps us regulate the temperature and humidity of the air we breathe, the gene we have identified here may have been inherited from Neanderthals to help humans adapt to colder climates when our ancestors left Africa.“.
So you already know: maybe you have a big nose, but it adapts better to the cold…
As Eurekalert! explains, Neanderthals are not the only ones who have influenced the features of modern humans. In 2021 it was discovered that a gene that affects the shape of the lips, comes from the Denisovansanother hominid species that coincided with Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals.
A Neanderthal gene has come down to us, and it is responsible for big noses. But although aesthetically they are debatable, they help regulate the temperature more efficiently in cold climates.