What’s with our tongues?
It’s there to help us talk, to taste our food, and to stick out at someone when we are annoyed.
But did you know there is so much more to our tongues?
Let’s learn some “tasty” tongue facts.
Did You Know?
1. Tongues are muscular structures that attach to the “floor” of our mouths.
2. The upper surface of our tongues contain taste buds, which contain taste receptors. The average tongue has from 3,000 to 10,000 taste buds!
Try This: Stick out your tongue in front of a mirror. Do you see all those little bumps? Those are called “papillae.” Our taste buds sit onto top of the papillae. However, they are not visible to the human eye.
3. We can perceive five different tastes. They are sweet, salty, sour, savoury, and bitter. It’s a myth that different tastes come from different areas of the tongue.
4. Our tongues are divided into two parts. The anterior is at the front and is two-thirds of the tongue’s length. The posterior is the back part of the tongue closest to the throat. It is roughly one-third of its entire length.
5. The average length of a human tongue is 4 inches long (10 cm).
Try This: Move your tongue back-and-forth. You can do this because there are eight muscles in your tongue. They are classified as intrinsic or extrinsic.
6. The intrinsic muscles (there are four) allow our tongues to change shape (such as point, roll, tuck etc), because they are not attached to any bones.
The four extrinsic muscles are attached to bone, which allows the tongue to change position, such as poke out, retract, and move side-to-side.
If you stick your tongue out at someone, it may be considered rude. But did you know in Tibet, it is considered a greeting?
7. The blue whale has the heaviest tongue of any species. It weighs a whopping 2.7 metric tons!
8. The giraffe’s tongue can measure up to 20 inches long (50.8 cm)!
9. Cats and dogs use their tongues to clean their fur. Their tongues have a rough texture that captures dirt and parasites.
10. The tongue of the Green Woodpecker is so long it has to coil behind the skull, over the eyes, and into the right nostril just to fit inside the bird’s head! Learn more about the Pileated Woodpecker here.
Isn’t the tongue super-cool and fascinating? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.