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Why do Africans have large noses and lips?

Human Anatomy, Physiology, and Medicine. Anything human!

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Why do Africans have large noses and lips?

Postby Luis » Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:28 pm

I was wondering about this question !

I'm studying an Introduction to Human Biology and Nature, and this question pops out from our teacher.

So, do you agree on what i found?

First off, it's a generalization. Not all Africans have large noses and lips. Characteristic facial feature vary from region to region in Africa. In West and South and some parts of Central Africa, those characteristics you stated are what the majority of the Africans look like. But most East Africans, North Africans, and some Central Africans have thin noses, normal - thin lips and usually have curly hair and can have straight/wavy hair. It's not because of mixing with non-Africans, it's because Africans are a diverse people. In fact, Africans are the most diverse ethnic group, according to researchers and scientists.

In fact, many Africans, especially East Africans, tend to marry and have children with people within their country, so that their genes are concentrated. This is proved through genetics tests. The oldest fossils in the world are found in East Africa, mainly Ethiopia, which suggests that the human race began there. According to many evolution theories, as the human community grew, some migrated to other regions in Africa, to Asia and to Europe. The physical characteristics of these races are a result of mutations and climate adaption after migration. An example is white skin which was a mutation that aided the humans living in colder regions, so that their skin could absorb more vitamin D into their bodies from the sun.
As to the large noses and lips of some Africans, I'm not really sure what purpose they served as East Africans living in the same climate do not typically have these features. But there is differences in every group. It's more due to genes being kept within a gene pool (or community) because there are no new dominant genes to override these genes. Also, no one died from having these characteristics as they did not hinder their survival.
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Postby kolean » Sat Jul 04, 2009 3:37 am

Maybe not necessarily big noses, but big nostrils. Bigger nostrils to breath more air in. You would need to breath more air if it contained less oxygen as it might have way back at the beginning of the neanderthal man. And like you stated, perhaps this dominant gene stayed within the gene pool for many generations. And the bigger the nose, the better the procreation partner to have in this culture, keeping the gene pool very dominant.
Lips are interesting to theorize why an extra thickness of muscle would be needed to be a dominant trait of this sequestered gene pool. Somehow getting the food into the mouth would be helpful as the lips can draw it in, and then shut the mouth to keep the food from falling out as it is eaten. Several different cultures even have plates that they put in their mouths to stretch out the lips. Perhaps this is a ritual from way back then.
Just speculating here.
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Re: Why do Africans have large noses and lips?

Postby versus » Sun Jul 19, 2009 8:10 am

I woud say that nostrils of Africans aren't big. They are normal. because they don't need to warm up the air they breathe. And the size of the nostrils in colder places (in the north) got smaller to ensure air wormup before delivering to the lungs.

Lips may have something related to nostrils.
But also its possible that lips are usefull for eating. coz in animlas well developed lips are common in plant eating animals. And in the north people were eating a lot of meat durin previos 10.000 years.
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Re: Why do Africans have large noses and lips?

Postby Jasper903 » Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:32 am

I agree with versus. I think it may be temperature/climate based. Colder climates could possibly result in narrower facial features.

http://books.google.com/books?id=Q5fNAAAAMAAJ&lpg=PA185&ots=nXzNvzjXT5&dq=bigger%20nostrils%20result%20of%20climate&pg=PA185
Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop.
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Re: Why do Africans have large noses and lips?

Postby dawntomorn » Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:21 am

They also actually have the right complexion to protect them from skin cancer. With their noses and lips, it is genetics and may be affected by their adaption of their environment.
Last edited by canalon on Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Spam removed
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Postby NurseBella » Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:30 pm

I wonder then, why do Italians have big noses? Or even, Why do JEws and Aficans share some feature traits?
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Re: Why do Africans have large noses and lips?

Postby robpdx » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:46 am

You know, this bugs me. And please understand these two things: (1) I know that I am going off on a tangent other than the medical/biological topic at hand and (2) I am not a "racist", or "angry" person of color. However, why doesn't the title on this heading say... "why do non-Africans have small noses and lips"? You know, to put it this way, it is almost to imply that African's are the ones that are different, or are not the norm. What type of thinking is this? Really now, who is it that is different enough that they need to be compared to some theoretical standard. Was it the egg or the chicken first? Why is it that rich (and not so rich) people that are not of color pay for COLLAGEN injections in their lips?!? I know that this is a different issue than the subject at hand, but I just had to speak up on this for a moment. People, stop, and *think* about your THINKING! Sorry.
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Postby canalon » Sun Nov 15, 2009 4:54 pm

Just to add to the above quite right rant that:
- Arabs are North African, and are not black nor do they have large nose and lips
- Even black African people do have quite a variety of different skin colors and facial feature, and not all of them do have large nose and lips.
- As has been pointed above large nose and lips are not limited to African people (see Australian aboriginals, and people from Melanasia for example)

So the question is even more poorly worded than the above poster noted. The question should be why some ethnic groups tend to have larger nostrils and lips than other?
And any answer should mix potential evolutionary advantages of those traits to at least some sexual selection. And be highly speculative in any way.
Patrick

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any proof. (Ashley Montague)
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Postby theewtgy » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:15 pm

It is dangerous to refer to the physical features of any race as "normal". That is the same attitude which lead to the genocide in Rwanda.
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Postby theewtgy » Thu Jan 06, 2011 2:17 am

True creationists have all the proof they need to die for their cause.
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Postby theewtgy » Thu Jan 06, 2011 3:53 am

Its interesting that we keep using changes in the phenotype to describe differences in Genotype. how is it possible that a different species could give us a genetic trate? If this is true, you are saying that people with wider noses and lips are less evolved than people with thinner lips and noses. Though I won't say that it is impossible to amalgamate two different species, I will say that those traits, if they existed wouldnt be an advantage. Every generation in the human gene pool posesses 200 new mutations that were not present in that of their parents. How many of those mutations will be positive? Humans are not evolving, we are devolving.
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Re: Why do Africans have large noses and lips?

Postby rswils » Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:47 pm

robpdx's comments are valid. I do agree that the thread title could be re-thought.
However I think that the reason why there are differences in facial and bodily features between races is that we are NOT all the same. This isn't meant to be racist or "shocking", but I believe that some human races have evolved earlier or differently than others. Just like the animal kingdom we have eagles and humming birds - Baboons and chimpanzee's - whales and minnows. I don't think it's so hard to understand why we have different features, our environments have a lot to do with it as well. Most Nordic's have blond hair and are fair skinned, Mediterranean’s have darker features. I'm a white male and I honestly don't think one races features are better or more attractive than an others. I see just as much beauty in someone who looks like Rachel Welsh as I do in Beyoncé - or a blonde haired, blue eyes girl from Sweden as I do a black haired, black eyed woman from Uganda.
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