LONDON: Anthropologists have suggested that Neanderthals had big noses because of the degree to which their face used to jut forward, indicating that the odd feature was a fluke of evolution, not some grand adaptation. The Neanderthal nose has been a matter of befuddlement for anthropologists, who point out that modern cold-adapted humans have narrow noses to moisten and warm air as it enters the lung, and reduce water and heat loss during exhalation. Big noses tend to be found in people whose ancestors evolved in tropical climates
, where a large nasal opening helps cool the body. But Neanderthals go against this trend, according to Tim Weaver, a palaeoanthropologist at the University of California, Davis. "They were living in the glacial environment of Europe, colder than it is today, for most of the time," he said. "So, it's sort of been an anomaly. Why do they have these wide nasal apertures?," he wondered.
Storyteller: Tim Weaver, Palaeoanthropologist, University of California,
Source: Why Neanderthals had big noses
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