Cat’s Tongues Are Almost a Superpower

Cat\'s Tongues Are Almost a Superpower
The magnified side view of a cat tongue shows the claw-like shape of the individual papillae. (Alexis Noel/ Georgia Tech)

Researchers at MIT and Georgia Tech studied cats’ tongues and came up with some surprising findings.

First, cat tongues are covered in “papillae” — essentially tiny hooks. These tiny hooks are made of the same thing as human fingernails, otherwise known as keratin.

Alexis Noel, a researcher at Georgia Tech, began studying cat tongues after noticing her family cat had hooks on his tongue that momentarily became stuck in a blanket while the cat was grooming.

By building a 3-D model that replicates the cat tongue, she discovered that more efficient grooming tools can be developed if they are created with the same hook features.

Cats who trust their owners will often groom them and if you can tolerate it, you may never need another microdermabrasion facial.

If you’d like to read more about cat tongues, please visit KQED Science for the full story.

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