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Why Men Need an Adam’s Apple, and If Women Have Them

The Adam’s apple is a lump that sticks out in the throat of men. But unlike a popular misconception, women also have them.

5-Minute Crafts is going to explain what the function of this mysterious body part is and why it’s so much more prominent in men.

History

According to one theory, the name “Adam’s apple” is from a biblical legend, where Eve gave Adam an apple and God made a piece of it stick in his throat to remind everyone about sin.

But there’s also another theory of origin. The name Adam’s apple was used in languages such as English, French, and Italian, but before it was used for the lump on the neck, it was used for several edible fruits, such as bananas, pomelos, and pomegranates. And European writers used the Latin term, “pomum Adami.”

Medieval Arab medical writers were dealing with throat anatomy by way of analogy with the same fruit, and they settled on “pomegranate” as a name for the laryngeal protuberance. It’s not clear what inspired the comparison.

But European scientists saw the Latin name of pomegranate, “pomum granatum,” which reminded them of “pomum Adami,” which they used to name the body part.

What it is

In childhood, most people don’t have a visible Adam’s apple, but during puberty, the larynx grows, which causes voice changes. This is true for both men and women. Even though the changes happen in both genders, they are more noticeable in men. This is why Adam’s apples in men are way bigger than they are in women. But sometimes, women have visible Adam’s apples and men don’t.

The larynx consists of 9 different areas of cartilage. The largest of these is called the thyroid cartilage. As the larynx grows during puberty, the thyroid cartilage needs space to expand, so it pushes forward. That’s what gives the visible bump on the throats of many men.

What it’s for

The Adam’s apple is on the front part of the larynx, and it protects the voice box and vocal cords from damage.

Because the Adam’s apple is part of the larynx, it plays a role in breathing, swallowing, and speaking. So when we swallow, the larynx muscles help close the epiglottis, a flap of cartilage that keeps food from entering your lungs. This prevents food from getting into the lungs.

5-Minute Crafts/Science/Why Men Need an Adam’s Apple, and If Women Have Them
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