For dolphins, seafood tastes salty.

New research in top science journal PNAS suggests that carnivores can’t taste very much. This is particularly bad news for dolphins. Humans and many other mammals have five types of taste receptors – sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami (savoury or meatiness). Animals in the order Carnivora appear to have lost the ability to taste sweetness, bitterness and umami. These are all mediated by things called G protein-coupled receptors and carnivores have lost the gene that codes for this. This makes it likely that they have reduced sense of these flavours. So sadly juicy steak isn’t quite as nice is if you are a carnivore.

But it gets worse for dolphins and sealions, they appear to have lost their sense of bitterness too. Dolphins and searlions appear to have a non-functional Tas1r2 receptor, responsible for bitterness.

Leaving the poor bastards with just a sense of saltiness. Just what you’d want if you lived in the sea and ate only seafood? If I were a dolphin I’d be bitter.



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About caspar

Caspar is just one monkey among billions. Battering his keyboard without expectations even of peanuts, let alone of aping the Immortal Bard. By day he is an infantologist at Birkbeck Babylab, by night he runs
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