Scientists try to unpick Neanderthals' nose problem

Boffins are scratching their heads over the Neanderthals’ huge honk.

For a while now they have been digging up bones which suggest that humanity’s cousins on the evolutionary tree had a nose like Concord.

The problem is that evolutionary law suggests that it is crazy to have such a big clonk when you are living in some of the coldest parts of the world. Apparently you lose a lot of heat through your hooter which is pretty impractical to wrap up from the cold. It also leads to unsightly icicles which are unattractive to other Neanderthals.

Of course there are those who think it is all about sex. “Is it too big, is it too small, will the girls like this? Will the girls like that.”

Scientists thought that there might be equally giant sinuses behind the broad noses which helped warm the air before it entered the lungs.

Todd Rae, a paleoanthropologist at Roehampton University in London, told the Mother Nature Network  that there are dozens of suggestions for what they may do for the animals that have them, including adding resonance to the voice and acting as flotation devices.

Rae found Neanderthal sinuses were actually comparable in scale with those of modern humans and not unusually large or small.

He said that there appears to be no special reason why their noses were unusually broad and they may just have evolved that way randomly.

Still it is a brave thing to say given the bogey men in the scientific community. The last thing you want to do about research on Neanderthal noses is to pick it wrongly and blow it completely.