When size matters

August 30, 2002

Swiss scientists have worked out the average dimensions of a European nose.

At the age of 30, the average European man's nose is 5.8cm long and sticks out 2.6cm from the face. For a woman of the same age, the average length is 5.1cm and it sticks out 2.2cm.

The researchers looked at 2,500 European noses, 50 from every age group from newborn to 97 years. They found nose size and protrusion to be larger in males and that continual growth could be expected throughout adulthood because noses are formed mainly of cartilage, which, unlike bony structures, continues to enlarge.

The aim of the research, reported in the American Journal of Medical Genetics , is to help doctors diagnose particular syndromes where nose size can be an early symptom of disease.

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