Are you aware that most sharks make use of the sensory organs present in their nostrils and mouths to examine their environments? Do you know that they have the capability to notice even tiny electrical fields that give them the assistance needed to close in on their prey?
There are still many facts you are yet to learn about the anatomy and components of a shark’s mouth. At a closer visualization inside the tiger’s mouth or great white shark’s mouth, you will be able to notice an incredible view that looks like an alien with white-colored gills and contains countless rows of razor-sharp teeth (they can be counted though).
But you will now have to wonder how they are able to taste their food. You may also be asking if sharks truly have tongues and if they possess taste buds. Don’t worry, this content will clear your doubt. Read on!
Do Sharks truly have tongues?
Yes! Sharks do possess tongues, but their tongues are not the same as the regular tongues of humans or the tongues of other mammals.
Sharks are known to be part of a group of animals that are regarded as cartilaginous fish, which also include ray fish and skates. Not like mammals, which usually have bones, the cartilaginous group of animals is known to have skeletons that are made of cartilage. Cartilage is a kind of connective tissue that is flexible.
In sharks, whose tongues are usually small, the tongue is characterized by a flattened structure that is held in place by the floor of the mouth.
It is comprised of cartilage, the same as the rest of the cartilaginous fish’s and shark’s skeleton, and it is embedded with tiny structures that are tooth-like structures otherwise called papillae. These papillae are used by the shark to get hold of and take in food in its mouth.
Not like the tongues present in the human system and those of other mammals, which are mainly employed for a taste sensation, sharks make use of their tongues during feeding and when they are swallowing.
That is to say, their tongue is not needed for tasting purposes, as sharks possess specific sensory organs called lateral lines. It is the lateral lines that allow them to discover whenever their prey is close by in the water. Also, sharks are not supposed to have a distinct kind of taste bud from that of mammals.
For the fact that mammals possess their taste buds on the surface level of their tongue, but those of sharks can be found on the inside of their mouth. This then creates an avenue for them to have a taste of their food as they are in the process of swallowing it, rather than mammals that taste theirs when they are just chewing it.
It is good to note that despite the fact that mammalian tongues differ from those of sharks, the tongues of sharks do offer some of the same functions and activities as those of mammals.
Take, for instance, the fact that both sharks and mammals can make use of their tongues when they want to manipulate and take food into their mouths and assist them in swallowing the food consumed.
What Do Sharks Use Their Tongues for?
Can Sharks stick out their tongues?
No, they can’t! This is why people ask if they really had tongues. Sharks cannot stick out their tongues. as their tongue is firmly held by the mouth’s floor. And because cartilage is the basic makeup of their tongues, it has little or no flexibility, which keeps a shark from sticking out its tongue.
Striking differences between the tongues of sharks and humans?
1. A shark’s tongue has no provision for taste buds. The majority of the human population has up to 10,000 taste buds, some of which can be found on the tongue.
2. A shark’s tongue does not have enough muscle, which implies that it cannot successfully make the kind of movement that our tongues engage in.
There are a number of restricted movements that the shark’s tongue can successfully make. Not like the tongues present in the human system and those of other mammals, which are mainly employed for a taste sensation, sharks make use of their tongues during feeding and when they are swallowing.
3. The top of a shark’s tongue is so much rougher and sharper than that of the human tongue. This explains why they don’t really need to make a cookie soft to be able to chew it well; they just need to get in the whole flesh. Their tongue is not needed for tasting purposes, as sharks possess specific sensory organs known as lateral lines.
We hope you are now aware that sharks have tongues, and this is the same for most species of fish. However, please bear in mind that their tongues are not exactly like those of humans (as broadly explained above), and many other mammals also possess tongues.
And because of these characteristics, they do not seem to engage in the same function and intention as human tongues.