Hooked, Pointy or Snubbed? How Your Nose Got Its Shape (2024)

Hooked, Pointy or Snubbed? How Your Nose Got Its Shape (1)

Ski-jump, hooked, piggy or snubbed — there are almost as many nose shapes as there are people in the world.

Now, new research has uncovered four genes that govern some of the variation in the human olfactory organ.

The new findings could help scientists understand the roots of this variation, the researchers said.

"Finding out the role each gene plays helps us to piece together the evolutionary path from Neanderthal to modern humans," study co-author Kaustubh Adhikari, a cell and developmental biologist at University College London, said in a statement. "It brings us closer to understanding how genes influence the way we look, which is important for forensics applications." [Bio-Art: 3D Printed Faces Reconstructed from Stray DNA]

Although many people think of nose shape as a purely aesthetic feature, researchers suspect that different nose shapes evolved in different environments, for different reasons, the study authors said.

"For example, the comparatively narrower nose of Europeans has been proposed to represent an adaptation to a cold, dry climate," said study lead author Andrés Ruiz-Linares, a biologist at University College London. "Identifying genes affecting nose shape provides us with new tools to examine this question, as well as the evolution of the face in other species."

To figure out what makes a nose, the researchers studied nearly 6,000 people from Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Chile and Mexico who had participated in the CANDELA study, an ongoing study of the biological diversity of people living in Latin America. The people in the study have a mix of Caucasian, African and Native American ancestry, creating a wide range of facial features. Past research from this population has identified genes that make people go gray.

The team analyzed the participants' facial features, and also did 3D reconstructions for 3,000 of the participants, to get exact measurements of their facial features.

Then, the team looked at the genomes of these people, and identified three genes known to drive bone and cartilage growth that also seemed to predict nose shape. Two genes, called GLI3 and PAX1, seemed to have a large effect on nostril width, while another, called DCH2, controlled nose pointiness. A fourth gene, called RUNX2, was associated with the breadth of the nose at the bridge.

Interestingly, three of these genes — GLI3, RUNX2 and DCH2 — seemed to have changed during modern humans' recent past, compared with in earlier times, such as during the evolution of archaic humans, including the Neanderthals and the Denisovans. This finding suggests that these genes have been under strong pressure from natural selection in the more recent past, according to the researchers.

The findings are published today (May 19) in the journal Nature Communications.

Follow Tia Ghose on Twitterand Google+.FollowLive Science @livescience, Facebook& Google+. Original article onLive Science.

Tia is the managing editor and was previously a senior writer for Live Science. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Wired.com and other outlets. She holds a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington, a graduate certificate in science writing from UC Santa Cruz and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Tia was part of a team at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that published the Empty Cradles series on preterm births, which won multiple awards, including the 2012 Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.

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Hooked, Pointy or Snubbed? How Your Nose Got Its Shape (2024)


How did hooked noses develop? ›

A hook nose is usually genetic, but can also be caused by trauma such as a bump to the nose. Trauma can push the nasal bones out of whack, creating a bump. This makes the dorsum become prominent and most of the time the tip is down-turned which forms the hook appearance.

What does a hooked nose look like? ›

A hooked nose, also known as an aquiline nose, describes a nose with a high dorsum or bridge and a low tip that droops. This creates a banana-like curve of the nose in profile.

What is a snub nose shape? ›

Snub Nose. Snub noses are slightly rounder at the nostrils, shorter in the bridge (length), and curve subtly upward at the tip. Think Tinkerbell or Emma Stone, both with noses of a whimsical, elvish beauty.

What gives the nose its shape? ›

The shape of the nose is determined by the nasal bones and the nasal cartilages, including the nasal septum, which separates the nostrils and divides the nasal cavity into two. The nose has an important function in breathing.

Why did humans develop pointy noses? ›

First author Dr Qing Li (Fudan University) said: “It has long been speculated that the shape of our noses is determined by natural selection; as our noses can help us to regulate the temperature and humidity of the air we breathe in, different shaped noses may be better suited to different climates that our ancestors ...

What is a hooked nose? ›

/ˌhʊkˈnoʊzd/ Someone who is hook-nosed has a large nose that curves out from the face. SMART Vocabulary: related words and phrases. The nose. -nosed.

Which nose shape is most attractive? ›

What is the most beautiful type of nose? A button nose is considered to be the ideal nose for women, according to research. This kind of nose has a narrower nasal bridge and is raised at the tip. It is very popular among women who want to undergo rhinoplasty as it is a very feminine nose shape.

How do you fix a hooked nose? ›

While fillers can help to straighten a slightly crooked nose, surgery is usually needed for more severe cases. Rhinoplasty is a type of plastic surgery that generally focuses on the outside of your nose, while septoplasty straightens the wall that divides the inside of your nose in two.

Which nose is rare? ›

However, there is another type of nose that can take the title of the rarest and its name is Anonymous nose. So what makes it so special? Simply put, this flat, round shape was found in only one face of the 1793 studied, meaning less than 0.05% of the population has it.

Are snub noses attractive? ›

The Snub. A snub is small, adorable and endearing, a button nose with a slight widening that's attractive to women and men alike. Rather than elegant and refined, it's smaller in length, cute and charming with an upturned tip displaying the nostrils. The legendary Elizabeth Taylor's snub nose is classic.

Are pointy noses attractive? ›

Avoiding Overly Small or Pointy Tips: An extremely small or sharply pointed nasal tip is generally not seen as fitting for men. 90-Degree Angle: Particularly for men, the ideal angle between the base of the nose and the tip is often considered to be 90 degrees, creating a strong and defined appearance.

Does nose shape change with age? ›

How Your Nose Changes As You Age. As we age, our nasal skin becomes thinner, and the nose structure weakens and loses support. These changes cause the nasal tip to droop, making the nose look longer. Gravity will have the same effect on the nose as it does on facial skin around the eyes, cheeks, and jowls.

Is nose shape genetic? ›

DNA controls nose and chin features

Whether you have a huge honker, a puny proboscis, or a snubbed schnoz, the shape of your nose is in your genes.

How can I shape my nose naturally? ›

Nonsurgical remedies

The basic idea is simple: Using bronzer that's two shades darker than your skin tone, outline your nose on both sides. Use a matte highlighter to trace the narrow outline of your nose and bring attention to it. practice, but many people love the result of this makeup technique.

Is a hooked nose a deformity? ›

The crooked nose is unquestionably the most severe deformity of the nasal septum due to the simultaneous involvement of very important functional and aesthetic elements.

How did big noses evolve? ›

A new study suggests that our unusual nose may have gained its shape simply as a by-product of other, more important changes in the structure of our face – although other researchers insist that some human noses have been directly shaped by natural selection.

What is the most attractive nose shape? ›

What is the most beautiful type of nose? A button nose is considered to be the ideal nose for women, according to research. This kind of nose has a narrower nasal bridge and is raised at the tip. It is very popular among women who want to undergo rhinoplasty as it is a very feminine nose shape.

Where did nose originate from? ›

The protruding nose that is completely separate from the mouth part is a characteristic found only in therian mammals. It has been theorized that this unique mammalian nose evolved from the anterior part of the upper jaw of the reptilian-like ancestors (synapsids).

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