What exactly is an "Adam's Apple"?

I was thinking the other day (I occasionally DO) and I was wondering what an “Adam’s Apple” is and why men have them and women don’t.
Anyone got any information on this? Thanks.

Adam’s apple

That link was beautiful, in equal measures sarcastic and helpful.


women have them. it’s just more of a Crab Apple.

[Moderator Note]

From the General Questions rules:

It’s fine if you want to link to Wiki, but we don’t need the sarcastic LMGTFY posts.

General Questions Moderator

Good response Colibri.

I had to Dogpile LMGTFY to understand the acronym.

The Adam’s Apple is a result of the way the cartilage in the neck forms in men vs. women. In men it makes a slight protrusion; that protrusion is colloquially called “Adam’s Apple” as a reference to the Biblical story of Adam eating an apple that he shouldn’t have eaten.

Both men and women have the seam in their necks, but in men it’s more pronounced. From my cursory googling, it doesn’t appear that science is certain why, although I could be wrong on that point.

There’s probably no specific or adaptive reason. It’s merely a result of the fact that male features tend to be larger and more pronounced than those of females, such as nose, ears, brow ridges, etc.

But Eve ate the first apple, didn’t she? That reference doesn’t explain why women shouldn’t have an “Eve’s Apple.”

Eve had the sense to chew.

I had to Google “Dogpile” to confirm that it still exists. :eek:

Theoretically, men should have one fewer rib than women do as well.:wink:

Eve had no problem swallowing as she felt no guilt. Adam however did feel guilty and a piece of the apple stuck in his throat. I read or heard that somewhere and though I’m no expert I am related to the couple in question. (Distant grandparents).

It’s quite likely the result of sexual selection for deeper voices. I’m a tall man with a relatively high voice, so trust me on this. :wink:

(The adam’s apple is larger in men than women largely because the larynx grows faster in adolescence for males, providing a deeper voice.)

Not necessarily. It would be difficult to demonstrate that the selection was specifically for a deeper voice, rather than for larger male size in general. Women could find a deeper male voice attractive just because it was correlated with other features related to masculinity.

So that’s why Kathleen Turner hits me like aural heroin.

Voice box.

My point is that men’s larynxes are disproportionately large in men (which is why they’re called “Adam’s apples”), and that this happens as a result of androgen influence during puberty.

So the question remains, why would larynx growth be sensitive to androgens? The simplest explanation is sexual selection for deeper voice. Of course, the simplest answer isn’t necessarily correct, and I certainly wouldn’t know how to begin to go about testing it. I take your word for it as a scientist that it would be difficult to demonstrate. It isn’t necessary to demonstrate it as contrasting with your suggestion, which doesn’t float, since larynx growth is disproportionate to body size.

Anyway, you said “not necessarily” and I agree, which is why I said “quite likely” rather than “certainly”.

So is that of other features such as nose, brow ridges, etc., none of which are related to low voice. My point is that disproportionate growth of the larynx could be just the result of a general effect of androgens, rather than specifically selected for.

It’s possible a low voice in males could be result of sexual selection, but it’s not necessarily so.