sense of taste

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Satiety: the state of being fed or full.

Taste Receptors You Can’t Taste

Digestive system

Our digestive tracts also have taste receptor cells. Image by

Research in the last decade has found that taste receptor cells are not actually confined to the oral cavity. These cells are also found in the digestive tract and pancreas, but instead of signaling a perception of taste to the brain, they sense nutrients in the body, and adjust the secretion of metabolic hormones. The circulation of these hormones helps to regulate appetite and satiety (fullness), as well as glucose (sugar) levels in the bloodstream.

Animals, Taste, and Evolution

Most animals have taste receptors similar to ours, but the types they have and the location tends to relate to the lifestyle of the animal. Cats, for instance, and other carnivores, do not have sweet taste receptors. Because their diet is very low in carbohydrates and high in protein, they have lost the ability to taste sweet through evolution. Most whales and dolphins have actually lost almost all taste receptors. They swallow their prey whole, and therefore have no need for a sense of taste. Fish, on the other hand, have taste receptors all over their body, including their skin, gills, and lips. This allows them to find food suspended in the water.

Additional images via Wikimedia Commons. Cat licking paw by torbakhopper.

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Bibliographic details:

  • Article: Taste Outside the Mouth
  • Author(s): Shelley Valle
  • Publisher: Arizona State University School of Life Sciences Ask A Biologist
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: October 6, 2017
  • Date accessed: March 27, 2023
  • Link:

APA Style

Shelley Valle. (2017, October 06). Taste Outside the Mouth. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved March 27, 2023 from

American Psychological Association. For more info, see

Chicago Manual of Style

Shelley Valle. "Taste Outside the Mouth". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 06 October, 2017.

MLA 2017 Style

Shelley Valle. "Taste Outside the Mouth". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 06 Oct 2017. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 27 Mar 2023.

Modern Language Association, 7th Ed. For more info, see
Cat licking its paw

Most animals have taste receptors, but they do not have all the same ones as humans. For example, cats can't taste sweetness.

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