That little canal under your nose has secret function you never know before

Have you come to ponder what this groove of yours is for?

Physically, groove looks like a  tiny drainage way found in the middle of our nose and upper lip. Technically, it’s called a Philtrum. At a closer look, some have emphasized shape while others seem to be vague.

Legends  had it that if one doesn’t have a clear image of a groove, that person is allegedly an “Aswang”, a shapeshifting monster in Filipino folklore usually possessing a combination of traits of either a vampire , a ghoul, a witch or different species, ore werebeast, or even all of them together. But that’s a myth talk and has yet no exact reference as to its truthfulness and is a matter of individual belief or cultural orientation.

Practically,  it’s pretty useless, except it’s there to complete our facial structure and make us a normal human being. But do you know that it has a significant function during our prenatal development, or when we were yet starting a life in the womb of our mother? Well fascinatingly enough,  it all relates to how our faces form within the womb during development.


Scientifically speaking, what the philtrum marks is the location where different parts of the face merge into one. “It’s the place where the puzzle that is the human place finally comes together”, explains Dr. Michael Mosley in a clip from the BBC program Inside The Human Body.”

“The three main sections of the puzzle meet at your top lip , creating the groove that is in the philtrum.” The development of the face happens between 2 to 3 months in the womb, and if the face doesn’t form during this window, for genetic or environmental reasons, then it never will.

In other words, as the nose and lips fall into place the philtrum appears. If they don’t merge correctly this can cause a cleft lip.

You can watch Dr. Wesley explaining this below, as well as see the incredible demo and of the face as it forms in the womb and how all the pieces  eventually come together to create a recognizable human face, taken right from scans of a real baby developing.

Humans aren’t only the ones with philtrums. Philtrums are common also in many mammals. For other primates, it’s as useless as it is to humans when it’s been formed already. But it’s not the case for other mammals like dogs and cats. Because this groove function so well in magnifying their acute sense of smell.

SOURCE: IFL Science

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