31 August 2012

Speaking of tongues

I know, I know, that is one strange title for a blog … well, this is one strange blog. I got the idea for it after taking a couple of photos that had big tongues in them – it seemed a shame to waste the photos, so I ran with the idea, intentionally taking a couple more tongue photos.

So, did you know … ?

Dogs’ tongues:

This gorgeous creature is a Peruvian hairless dog. She was so pregnant that she was barely able to waddle from one shady spot to another.

·         As they use their tongues to clean themselves, dogs’ tongues have an extremely rough texture, helping
      them to remove dirt, parasites and oil from their coats.

·         A dog’s tongue also acts as an air-conditioner. When a dog becomes hot through exercise, its tongue swells because of the increased blood flow. The dog then lets its tongue hang out of its mouth and pants, allowing air to cool any moisture on its tongue, thus also cooling its blood.

This cute little guy followed us in to a local restaurant in Oropesa, where I work and then used those big cute eyes to beg some of our lunch from us.

Dinosaur tongue:

Okay, it’s not a real dinosaur but a concrete one, from Jurassic Park, the local fun park in Oropesa. And I know nothing at all about dinosaur’s tongues and couldn’t find much by googling, but the picture has a tongue in it, so here it is!
Human tongues:

After deciding I needed a human tongue or two for this blog, I asked the kids at Picaflor House to pose for me. Of course, they were happy to poke their tongues out at me and I just love these photos. You can almost see what they had for lunch!

·         The human tongue is the strongest muscle in proportion to its size in the human body. It is also the most flexible.

·         The human tongue has approximately 3000 taste buds.

·         If you are healthy, your tongue will be pink. If your tongue is white, that means there is a film of bacteria on it. And, interestingly, a human’s mouth contains much more bacteria than a dog’s mouth – amazing when you consider what a dog uses its tongue for!

·         Much like fingerprints, the tongue print of every human is unique. I’m surprised law enforcement hasn’t made use of that fact, though tongue-printing could be a very messy business.

Bear tongue:

This is one of the Spectacled, or Andean, Bears I met during my recent tour of northern Peru. I will write more about these magnificent creatures in a future blog.

·         Bears have very long tongues, the better to extract honey and insects from trees and logs.

·         Despite being the smallest of all bears, the Sun Bear has the longest tongue, ranging from 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 centimetres) in length.

·         Polar bears have blue/black tongues. Their skin is actually that colour too, underneath all that white fur.

·         As well as grunts, Black Bears use tongue clicks when engaged in friendly conversation with their mates and cubs. Aw, so cute!

Okay, that’s it. Everything you never wanted to know about the tongues of these various creatures. I promise a more serious blog next.

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