High-speed and x-ray video of dogs lapping up water has shown how they seemingly bend gravity and force the water into their mouths. Humans could learn to manipulate their tongues in similar ways, but it’d be a difficult, unrewarding challenge.
While cats seem to drink water in much the same way as dogs, there’s one difference between the two specifies, according to research printed in the Royal Society Biology Letters. “Dogs make much more mess,” claims the co-author of the research and professor emeritus of the natural history department at Harvard University, Alfred Crompton:
“Unlike cats that usually place their tongue tip on the liquid surface, dogs penetrate the liquid surface and consequently liquid is spread all around as the tongue is withdrawn”
The reason dog owners often have to wipe up spillage after a rehydrating session is because of the way they curl their tongue tip backwards, making it almost like a scoop which the water sticks to, going against the gravity as it’s poured upwards into the mouth.
Give it a go drinking like a dog in a bar tonight, by sticking “your tongue out, curl it down, place it on a liquid surface and then withdraw”, but be warned because “the tongue will immediately straighten out and spray most of the liquid before mouth closure”. And you’ll probably get barred from your favourite drinking establishment until at least next week. [Discovery]
Image credit: Fauxto_digit