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Here's Why Your Nose and Ears Get Bigger When You're Old

Published On 10/16/2016 Published On 10/16/2016

Although it varies from person to person, people generally stop physically developing -- or growing -- between the ages of 18 and 21 (all that time you've spent "growing" sideways since then obviously doesn't count). But if you stop growing at such a young age, then why do much older people tend to have such big noses and ears? A recent video from the folks over at DNews offers an interesting explanation for how this happens.

It turns out that aging, not growing or developing, is responsible for your grandpa's droopy elephant ears or your grandma's pointy beak of a nose, according to the video. Here's the quick TL;DR explanation: While much of your body is made out of cells that are constantly dying and regenerating throughout your lifetime, it turns out your nose and ears (along with several other parts of your body) are made with a different type of tissue called cartilage. But unlike other tissues in your body, when the cartilage in your nose and ears starts to break down, it's unable to repair and regenerate itself so it ends up hardening and scarring instead. Ultimately, this results in its tendency to sag, droop, and become noticeably bigger than, say, the other features on your face. Pretty crazy, right?

For a more detailed explanation, be sure to check out the short DNews video above. Or, by all means, get back to "growing" sideways as usual. 

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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and currently has small ears but a fairly big nose. Send news tips to news@thrillist.com and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.

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