April 26, 2019

Smelling With The Tongue? Really?

Well, for most of us this may be unbelievable but a new research conducted by Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia has found that in addition to our nose we can smell with our tongue also.

woman extending her tongue


Dr. Mehmet Hakan Ozdener, the chief author of the study was asked a curious question by his son who wondered snakes flick their tongues to smell.

Taste and smell had been thought to be independent senses that didn't interact until input from each reached the brain.

But senior author Dr. Mehmet Hakan Ozdener said his son's question prompted him to rethink that belief.

Ozdener's new study found that odor-detecting sensors in the nose (functional olfactory receptors) are also present in the taste cells on our tongue. This suggests that interactions between the senses of smell and taste may begin on the tongue and not in the brain, researchers said.

"The presence of olfactory receptors and taste receptors in the same cell will provide us with exciting opportunities to study interactions between odor and taste stimuli on the tongue," said Ozdener.

In addition to providing insight into the nature and mechanisms of smell and taste interactions, the findings also may provide a tool to increase understanding of how the olfactory system detects odors.

So what do you think of this discovery? Did you at any point of time had the slightest idea that your tongue could have a sense of smell?

woman sticking out her tongue

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