The human body is a source of endless fascination. Did you know, for example, that if all of an adult’s blood vessels were laid end to end, they would stretch for 100,00 miles (according to the Franklin Institute)?
However, many of the things you think you know about the human body are simply not true. For example, you may have heard that you only use 10% of your brain, according to Medical News Today. That’s a myth: you actually use all of it. Or similarly, your grandmother may have warned you that chewing gum will stay in your digestive system for years, when in fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, it simply passes through your body the same as any other food.
Another “fact” about your body that is simply not true is the idea that your ears and nose keep growing throughout your entire life, even into old age. In fact, nothing of the sort happens, although something of an optical illusion does make it appear as if that’s true.
The nose and ears begin to droop in old age
According to Healthline, an adult generally stops growing once they’re into their 20s, depending on a variety of factors, such as whether they’re male or female, or how late they started puberty.
When it comes to the nose and ears, however, things appear a bit different. As a person ages, it sometimes does appear as if these organs have continued to grow along with them, according to Flushing Hospital. However, what’s actually happening is that the nose and ears are made of cartilage, and as an individual ages, cartilage breaks down. This, combined with the cumulative effects of a lifetime of being exposed to gravity, means that cartilage-containing parts of the body start to droop. What’s more, the lips and cheeks can actually lose volume, magnifying the illusion.
Unfortunately, as time passes, the effects of gravity and aging are avoidable, meaning that everybody, unless they’re willing to spend the money on corrective surgery, is going to have to deal with drooping ears and noses in old age.
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