Human noses and ears keep getting bigger, even when the rest of the body’s growth has come to a halt. While the rest of our body shrinks as we get older, our noses, earlobes and ear muscles keep getting bigger.

That’s because they’re made mostly of cartilage cells, which divide more as we age. At the same time, connective tissue begins to weaken. Our noses and ears are unique compared to the rest of our bodies because they’re composed of soft tissue enveloped in cartilage. And it’s this soft tissue that keeps growing throughout our entire lives. “When you look at someone when they’re 80 vs. when they’re 20, they’ll have more cells in their ears and nose,” Dr. Neinstein says. If you’ve noticed that some older people seem to have larger ears and noses, well, this is why.

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