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Climate Combined With Genetics Helps Determine Your Nose Shape

03/17/2017 02:24 EDT | Updated 03/17/2017 02:24 EDT

Yes, you definitely got your nose from your parents, but they're not the only ones you should be thanking (or blaming) for the shape of your schnoz.

According to a new study published in the journal PLOS Genetics, the shape of your nose is the result of a combination of genes and ancestral climate adaption.

The study looked at seven nose traits of 2,637 people across four demographics – West Africa, East Asia, Northern Europe and South Asia – and found that although noses vary from person to person, they also vary across communities. In particular, the researchers noted that in regions subject to higher temperatures and humidity, locals tended to have wider nostrils.

“We selected these to maximize the distance across populations,” the study's co-author Arslan Zaidi told The New York Times.

And it makes sense as narrow nostrils make it easier for the nose to humidify and warm the air which is more beneficial for people in regions with cold, dry climates.

To dispell the belief that the shape of the nose is solely dependent on genetics, the researchers based at Pennsylvania State University used a series of scientific calculations to eliminate the genetic drift factor. In doing so, they concluded that the shape change was a result of natural selection.

Zaidi and his team hope to continue the study by looking at more groups.

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