A group of UK doctors got together and measured ear growth with age. Then they decided to teach us all the European terms for big ears. Because why not?

We all know that ears and other body parts made of cartilaginous material grow as we age, but no one really knew how much it grew. This seems to have troubled a group of doctors in Kent to an extraordinary degree. They decided to form a little study, measuring the ears of surgical patients over 30.

The doctors admit up front that the study didn’t include everyone they saw. Even for something as trivial as ear-measurement, they had to get permission. Although not a single patient refused, if they were asked, the doctors didn’t want to ask patients who had just been diagnosed with something serious if they wanted to participate in a fun ear-measuring study. So if grave illness alters our ear-length, we don’t know. As it is, the doctors found that, after age 30 at least, the ears grow by 0.22 millimeters or 0.0087 inches per year. Over the course of a lifetime, your ears could get half an inch, or 11 millimeters longer.

Very interesting. Then the doctors decide to embroider their report. They list the variations on “jug-earred” in every European language. If you’re interested, the Dutch term for big ears is “flapoor” or “flap-earred.” The original researchers, however, could not find a Welsh word for big ears. Fortunately, this article is posted along with subsequent letters to the editor. It appears that every Celtish language has a word for “big-eared.” The Welsh for it is apparently clustiog. So that’s cleared up.

[Source: Why Do Old Men Have Big Ears?]

Image: PD

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