Feeds

Is there any evolutionary advantage in snoring?

Who nose?

High performance access to file storage

Also in this week's column:

Is there any evolutionary advantage in snoring?

Asked by John Edwards of Hitchin, United Kingdom

We have addressed snoring many times in many ways.

Points we have not made so far about snoring include:

  1. The reason that we snore more in old age is that the throat muscles involved in preventing snoring become somewhat weaker and more flaccid with age.
  2. Fatter people tend to snore more because fat deposits accumulate in the tissues of the airways. This makes the tissues heavier and causes the tissues to block more of the normal line of airflow.
  3. An estimated 45 per cent of people snore from time to time and 25 per cent are habitual snorers.
  4. You snore more when sleeping on your back because in that sleep position gravity causes the tongue to fall backwards somewhat. This can narrow the airways and partially block airflow.

What we have not answered is the puzzling question of what could be the evolutionary advantage in making a sound while snoring? Making noises (often very loud ones) while sleeping would seem only to advertise the fact that one is sleeping - and thus being more vulnerable to harm from other humans and predation for other animals.

Making a sound while snoring would seem to provide no advantage and at least one definite disadvantage for survival. So how has this noisy behaviour survived natural selection?

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
Get your MOON GEAR: Auction to feature Space Race memorabilia
Keepsakes from early NASA, Soviet programs up for bids
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.