I have a weird question for the evolutionists out there. Why are sneezes so loud? It seems to me that an ancient hunter-gatherer who sneezed like my wife (for example) would scare off prey, alert predators, and generally compromise his Darwinian fitness. Is this just an example of the lack of natural selection in the modern world? Is there an upside to all the noise? Has anyone studied this?
It’s pretty easy to suppress the noise of a sneeze, when needed.
And we see (hear?) the same thing in other mammals, so I doubt there is anything unique to humans going on.
The hunters might scare the prey once in awhile, but the roots and berries aren’t going to run from the gatherers over a little sneeze. How often is a sneeze going to prove deadly? It’s the traits that kill you that tend to show up less over time.
And of course there are always trade-offs: A silent sneeze would probably be a lot less effective at clearing out irritants from the nasal passages.