Do Sharks Have Tongues?

do sharks have tongues

Do sharks have tongues? This has been a debate for years. 

However, the answer is yes. Sharks have a tongue, and their name is basihyal.

A new study has revealed that sharks do have tongues. For years, scientists have debated shark tongues. 

Unfortunately, there was no clear proof one way or the other. 

Fortunately, new research proves sharks have tongues.

Researchers from the University of Florida performed the study. They used X-ray micro-CT scans to examine the skull structures of nine sharks.

Anatomy Of A Shark’s Mouth: What Does It Look Like Inside?

Shark swims deep in the water. Its mouth is open, exposing sharp teeth.

But what does the inside of a shark’s mouth look like? The interior of a shark’s mouth is filled with rows of sharp teeth. 

These teeth are designed to slice into the flesh easily. In addition, the interior of the mouth is covered with barbs that help hold prey.

Sharks have a unique anatomy that makes them formidable predators. Their mouths are specialized for killing and eating prey.

Do Sharks Have Tongues? 

Yes, sharks have tongues. The tongue is a muscular hydrostat attached to the mouth’s floor. 

It is used for tasting, manipulating food, and for respiration. The tongue is cover with taste buds. That helps the shark determine if something is edible or not. 

Sharks use their tongues to taste and smell their prey. They have a good sense of smell and can detect trace amounts of blood in the water.

Do Sharks Have Tongues

The tongue also helps the shark to locate food. Once a shark discovers its prey, it uses its tongue to grab it.

The tongue also plays a important role in respiration. For example, when a shark swallows the water, its tongue pulls it out via its gill slits.

What Is Basihyal In Shark?

The basihyal is a cartilaginous structure in the throat of some sharks. This structure is also known as the hyoid arch. 

The basihyal supports the gill slits and functions in filter feeding. Yet, so many scientists claim it works as a tongue in sharks.

The basihyal is homologous to the larynx in tetrapods. In some sharks, the basihyal is linked to ligaments that support the gill slits. The basihyal may be involved in sound production.

How Big Are Shark Tongues?

A shark’s tongue can be up to one-third the length of its body. The tongue is connect to the floor of the mouth. It is use to help the shark eat. 

The tongue is also use to taste food. In addition, a shark’s tongue has small, sharp tooth-like structures called denticles. 

These denticles help the shark grip prey and tear it apart. The size of a shark’s tongue depends on the size of the shark.

Smaller sharks have smaller tongues. Conversely, more giant sharks have larger tongues. 

The giant shark’s tongue came from a great white shark. It measured almost two feet long!

What Do Sharks Use Their Tongues For?

A shark’s tongue is one of its most important organs. Sharks utilize their tongues to sense, locate food and communicate.

A shark’s tongue is coated with thousands of dermal denticles. These pores are related to the shark’s nervous system and sense pressure, temperature, and vibration.

Sharks can sense their surroundings and find prey even in dark or murky water. Sharks also use their tongues to communicate with other sharks. 

They may convey warning messages or mate-seeking signals to other sharks. Shark experts say the tongue helps sharks avoid conflict and remain safe.

How Does A Shark’s Tongue Work?

A shark’s tongue is a long, flat muscle on the floor of the mouth. The tongue is connect to the hyoid arch, a collection of bones in the neck.

The tongue pushes food towards the rear of the mouth and down the esophagus. 

Fish makes up the majority of the food of sharks. In addition, however, they will consume crabs, squid, and other marine life.

How Does A Shark's Tongue Work

A shark’s tongue is cover with tiny teeth-like structures call papillae. These papillae help to grip prey so it can swallow whole.

Papillae is use to detect vibrations in the water. This helps sharks locate prey that may hide in sediment or debris.

Sharks can feel pressure and temperature changes using their mouths.

Can Sharks Taste Using Their Tongue?

A shark’s tongue is coated with hundreds of tiny tooth-like structures call dermal denticles. These denticles point toward the back of the throat and capture prey.

Underneath the skin is taste buds that can detect chemicals in the water. Sharks use their sense of smell and taste to find food. 

Most sharks have a relatively poor sense of taste. They can only sense a few molecules. As a result, they aren’t sensitive to sweet, sour, or salty flavors.

However, some sharks have a more developed sense of taste. For example, lemon sharks can distinguish between different salt concentrations in water. 

Some experts think sharks can taste with their mouths because their skin can sense substances in the water. To support this theory, additional study is necessary.

Do Whales Have Tongues?

Yes, whales have tongues! All mammals have tongues. 

The tongue is a significant muscle that helps us eat, drink, and speak. For example, whales use their tongues to filter food from the water. 

They utilize them to communicate. For example, whales reportedly use their mouths to travel and find partners.

Whales are amazing animals with many unique adaptations.  So next time you see a whale, take a moment to think about its tongue!

Do Dolphins Have Tongues?

Do dolphins have tongues? There is no simple answer to this question. 

We know dolphins have a mouth and make noises. But, unfortunately, we don’t know whether they have tongues.

This question’s resolution is quite tricky. Dolphins do have a tongue-like structure. But it’s different from human or other land mammal tongues.

The dolphin’s tongue is frayed and connect to the mouth floor. Dolphins eat fish and other tiny aquatic creatures using this tongue.

The tongue’s frayed edges grab prey and funnel it to the rear of the mouth for swallowing.

So, do dolphins have tongues? We’re not quite sure.

Final Notes

In conclusion, sharks have tongues and use them to help them eat. However, their tongues are not the same as ours. 

They are much smaller and have different functions. Nevertheless sharks are amazing creatures, and we can learn a lot from them.


Q. Do baby sharks have tongues?

A. Yes, baby sharks have tongues. However, their tongues are not as developed as those of adults. Baby sharks use their tongues primarily for tasting and feeling their way around their environment.

Q. How do sharks taste their food?

A. Sharks can taste small amounts of chemicals in the water. They have taste receptors on their tongue and lips and can feel chemicals via skin pores. Sharks typically taste blood or other signs of injury when hunting.

Q. Do great white sharks have tongues?

A. Yes, great white sharks do have tongues. However, their tongues are tiny and not very well developed.

About Biswajit

I am Biswajit. Dogs, buffalos, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses surrounded my childhood. So I have gathered knowledge and their behavior from the growing age. It helps me write about their lifestyle, feeding, behavior, etc. I am a proud writer of

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