Cat's tongue contains 300 small, hollow and rigid nipples In the form of a spoon they allow to soak their fur base with saliva, according to US researchers with the help of high resolution cameras.
So far, the consensus has indicated that these nipples were tapered in shape, such as nails, scientists write in their article published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). In fact, the ducks end up in small curved and concave edges, the shape of which attracts and stores the saliva with tension, and is transferred to the base of the hairs.
"It really looks like a tube cut in half", says AFP news agency Alexis Noel, co-author of the article with the head of the laboratory at the Institute of Agricultural Technology. The paws "act like straw: when they put it in liquid, it emerges in this small cavity."
"When the cat licks, it manages to attract these fluids to the tips and make them penetrate deep into the hair", says the engineering engineer, who devoted her doctorate to frog and cat languages.
Cats, researchers remember in their article, spend a quarter of their sleepy life by washing their tongues (a cat sleeps 14 hours a day).
They keep their fur to remove dirt and fleas and avoid knots. This coating contains an upper layer that protects it and a lower layer of fluff for heat.
Cats sweat only from the pads: when hot, licking allows them to cool the body, plus saliva also has cleaning power.
Ducks count an average of 2.3 millimeters in the six feline species studied, including the domestic cat, the tiger and the lion. The authors examined the languages of the dead cats and also played the tongue of the domestic cat in action with a camera that records 100 photos per second.
Researchers, who are interested in the practical applications of these findings, They believe that brushes for humans could be improved by the cat model.
However, they also registered a patent for a possible industrial application: "This could be very useful for carpet cleaning technologies to inject liquids into fibers," said Alexis Nollen.