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View count:784,198
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Duration:02:10
Uploaded:2014-05-20
Last sync:2018-11-25 03:00
Quick Questions takes on the matter of the adam's apple -- The fact is, everyone has one! Learn what it really is, what its purpose is, and why they might look different in different people.
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Sources:
http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/adams-got-apple-why-not-eve
http://www.livescience.com/32470-why-do-we-have-an-adams-apple.html
http://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/thyroid-cartilage
Some of our favorite Quick Questions to answer are the ones where the premise of the question is flawed.   Like, take this one: Why don’t women have adam’s apples?   The answer is: I don’t … I can’t answer that, ‘cause women do have adam’s apples!   Technically, the adam’s apple is known as the laryngeal prominence, and it’s actually just a big piece of cartilage that covers your larynx, or voice box.   Everyone has one, because you need it to protect your larynx and everything you keep inside there to make yourself heard, particularly your vocal folds -- often mistakenly called vocal cords.   This protection is important enough that there are actually nine different pieces of cartilage that work together to protect your larynx. The one that forms the laryngeal prominence is the biggest and uppermost piece, called the thyroid cartilage.    Cartilage is just a kind of stiff, flexible connective tissue -- it doesn’t have any nerves or blood vessels in it -- and the prominence is where two plates of cartilage meet and fuse together, forming a little peak.   As children, everyone’s laryngeal prominence is the same size. But when you reach puberty, your larynx and all of the cartilage around it grows considerably, giving you your grown-up voice. But the way in which the cartilage grows is different depending on your sex.   For biological females, the two plates develop to form a more obtuse angle, of about 120 degrees. This makes it rest flatter in the throat.   But in males, the plates form a 90 degree angle, which makes the prominence even more prominent.    And because the rapid growth of the larynx and all its fixins is driven by testosterone, males’ voice boxes and thyroid cartilage typically grow more than females’, which can not only give them deeper voices, it can also put a bigger lump in their throat.   So an enlarged, angled adam’s apple is considered a male secondary sex characteristic -- a specific variation of a feature that everyone actually has.   Keep the questions coming! We love ‘em!   Thanks for watching this Quick Question, especially to our Subbable subscribers who get these videos a little early for subscribing. Thank you.   If you have a quick question, let us know on Facebook or on Twitter or in the comments below, and if you want to keep getting smarter with us, just go to YouTube.com/scishow and subscribe!