Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Flappin' in the Wind

Anyone who owns a dog has seen the magic of the tongue. It's always wet, allows them to pick "food" off the floor, lap up water, and depending on the breed, is often the exit pathway for many a droplet of gooey saliva. When exercising, it elongates, falls out one side of the mouth, and flaps in the wind with each dog gallop.

According to Miller's Anatomy of the Dog (which I'm assuming is like Netter's...) there are no less than 8 pairs of muscles and 5 (count 'em - FIVE) cranial nerves that control the tongue. Definitely more wiring than ours. When dogs run, the tongue acts as a source of heat loss - tongue blood vessels dilate which causes the tongue to swell and extend. The endless moisture is from oodles of glands. There are four pairs of salivary glands that drain into the mouth and numerous tiny salivary glands on the surface of the tongue. Cool beans! :D

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