What Would We Do Without Our Noses?


You smell the fresh baked pumpkin pie from your room. You follow the smell until you find yourself in the kitchen where the smell of spices, fruit, turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc. overwhelms your nostrils with the different smells of food. So we found our way into the kitchen and are able to take in all of these wonderful smells because of our nose. 


As we know our nose has two nostrils. Both the nostrils and nasal cavity have mucous and cilia that help to filter the air and harmful substances from entering the body/lungs. Cartilage shapes the nose from the nasal bridge down. This is where many people will have plastic surgery done to change the shape of their nose. From the nasal bridge up to our eyes, we have bones that serve as a support for the nose. In between the eyes there are two nasal bones that form into one to create the nasal bridge. The nasal septum divides the nose into two nostrils and the "turbinate or conchae, are bones that divide [the] nasal cavity into air passages" ("Anatomy").

To enable us to smell, molecules called Volatile, evaporate off materials. We breathe these molecules in and at the "top of [our] nasal passages" neurons are located. They have Cilia, hair-like features that capture these molecules and allow us to smell. Receptors are also located throughout our nose and each receptor is created by a certain gene. If a gene was damaged in the process it could cause you to not be able to detect certain kinds of smells. When we smell foods or flowers we are actually breathing in organic molecules called Esters. Esters can be made artificially and this is how artificial flavors are created. We are able to smell over 10,000 different odors ("How").

When comparing male to female you might have noticed that a man's nose is bigger than a female's nose. Men's noses are bigger than women's noses by ten percent because they need more oxygen since they have more lean muscle mass than women. Male's noses do not start growing bigger than female's until they reach puberty. Humans today have smaller noses than the Neanderthals had in the past. Though because Neanderthals had bigger bodies they resulted in more muscle so scientists believe they had bigger noses to accommodate and bring more oxygen in for their muscles ("Why Are").

Many people have different shaped noses. There are all kinds: big, small, bony, long, etc. A postdoctoral researcher at the University of Iowa, Nathan Holton, scanned forty peoples' noses with half being of European/Americans and the other half being African Americans/Native South Africans. Holton believes that the reason humans have different shaped noses is because of the different climates we live in or are associated with. So Caucasians have more narrow noses because of the colder climate and since the mucosal surface of our noses supply moisture, the colder air would dry this moisture out. Hence the fact that sometimes when breathing in cold air that our nose tends to burn this is because the air drys it out ("Why Our"). This can lead to nose bleed because the mucous membrane gets very dry or cracks and the nose contains a ton of blood vessels ("What"). So this is why the noses are smaller/narrower to adapt to the climate. African Americans are associated with warmer weather and therefore do not need to worry about colder air which allows them to have bigger noses ("Why Our").


Abraham Tamir, an Iraeli scientist, chemical engineer professor, and also teaches the connection between science and art, photographed and looked at 1,800 photos to compare the shapes of noses. Out of the 1,800, 400 were pieces of art, 600 were women noses and 1,200 were male noses. He took pictures of people from Israel, Holland, Belgium and France. He found that there are fourteen different shapes of noses ("There"). The problem with his study is that he should have an even number of both males and females and one of the biggest flaws in his study was that he did not include other ethnicities like Asians, African Americans, etc. He also did not list how many of pictures of the males and females were from which country. So we don't know if he had gotten an even amount from each country. This could change the study significantly if he had taken into account these other factors.


Works Cited:

"Anatomy of the Nose." Rhinoplasty Online. 20 Nov. 2013 <http://www.rhinoplastyonline.com/anatomynose.html>.

 "How Does the Sense of Smell Work" Howstuffworks. 20 Nov. 2013 <http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/human-biology/question139.htm>.

"There Are 14 Different Kinds of Noses, Study Claims." NBC News Health. 21 Nov. 2013 <http://www.nbcnews.com/health/there-are-14-different-kinds-noses-study-claims-1C6437205>.

"What Is A Nosebleed? What Causes Nosebleeds?" Medical News Today. 20 Nov. 2013 <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/164823.php>.

 "Why Are Men's Noses Bigger Than Women's?" Discovery News. 20 Nov. 2013 <http://news.discovery.com/human/evolution/why-are-mens-noses-bigger-than-womens-131120.htm>.

"Why Our Noses Are Different Shapes." CNN Health. 20 Nov. 2013 <http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/20/why-our-noses-are-different-shapes/>.

Photo of different shaped noses:<http://chestofbooks.com/arts/photography/Practical-Photography-2/images/Illustration-No-38-Character-Chart-Noses.jpg>.

Photo of the nose anatomy: <http://www.uofmchildrenshospital.org/fv/groups/public/documents/images/133840.jpg>.

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