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4 THINGS ABOUT COW TONGUES They are long! Cow tongues are 12 to 14 inches long! Since cows don’t have top teeth in the front of their mouth, they use their long tongues to grab grass, then they bite it off with their bottom front teeth. They have amazing taste buds! The tip of a cow’s tongue alone has approximately 1,600 to 1,800 taste buds. The middle section of the tongue doesn’t have very many at all, but the back of the tongue contains about 13,000 to 20,000! We humans have a total of anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 taste buds. They are rough! The bumps on a tongue are called papillae. In cattle, the papillae at the front of the tongue are tough and spiky and face backward. This makes their tongue feel like sandpaper, and that’s perfect for when the cow, or another cow, need some grooming and it’s also good for grabbing their feed. This close up of a cow’s tongue shows why it feels so rough! These are the fi liform papillae that point backward and are located near the tip of the tongue. There are four other types of papillae on a cow’s tongue, conical (which are cone shaped and point backward too, but are located at the back of the tongue), fungiform (they look like little mushrooms and have taste buds on them), circumvallate (they have the most taste buds on them) and lenticular (they are shaped like lentils). They are… tasty? You might not think that eating a cow’s tongue would taste very good, and although some Americans really like it, it is a more popular dish in other countries, such as Japan and Mexico. There are many different ways to prepare it and it can be eaten just like a roast, or put in tacos, on sandwiches, in a stir-fry or stew, etc. TIM O’BYRNE CHRISTINE O’BYRNE We decided to try cooking up a cow tongue at Working Ranch Junior headquarters. After marinating, slow cooking, then grilling, the results were quite delicious! What do cows and cats have in common? Cats have backward facing fi liform papillae on their tongue too, that’s why it feels kind of like a little rasp and is excellent for grooming! Many cows and cats enjoy grooming their friends, too. SUMMER 2017 I WORKING RANCH JUNIOR I 5


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