Posted by Reedy Fork Organic Farm on 11/4/2011 to News
"It's no secret that we think that cows are fascinating creatures. We thought we'd share with you some facts about one of the many interesting parts of a cow - the tongue. Something's Missing Up There Did you know that a cow has no top teeth in the front of her mouth? A cow's tongue is so strong that it does the work of teeth. To eat, she rips apart tall grass with her tongue. Although she can use her top and bottom molars to grind the grass up, this doesn't happen until a bit later. First, she rolls the grass around in her mouth and swallows the ball or ""bolus"" nearly whole. The next digestive stop is her rumen, or largest stomach, where bacteria and enzymes begin to break down what she's eaten. Chew on This... If you watch a cow eat, you'll see her mighty tongue reaching out and pulling the grasses into her mouth. Once she's through grazing, she will lie down to rest and chew her cud. This is when she regurgitates the boluses and uses those back molars to grind them. Once the grass has been broken down sufficiently, it goes to the other chambers of its stomach - the reticulum, omasum and abomasum. Tongue-WOW! It dries! It encourages breathing in new born calves! You'll see and it and say WOW! Seriously, it's incredible. When a calf is born, the mama cow will lick the calf dry with her sandpaper-like tongue. The roughness not only dries but helps initiate good circulation and respiration for her baby. Fine Toothed-Tongue Human mothers aren't the only ones concerned with how their offspring looks. As the calf grows, the mama cow will continue to groom him with her tongue. (Is that what's meant by a cowlick??) ""A Little More to the Left, Please"" Okay, scientists haven't deciphered such communication from calves to mama cows, but it's true that a cow's tongue is a great back-scratcher. The rough texture of the tongue takes care of its itches. Who Loves You? If a cow licks your arm, it's not a sign of affection. She's simply craving the salt that's in the sweat on your arms. Last Tidbit of Trivia You can eat it. It may not be on the menu at your favorite restaurant, but many cultures consider cow tongue a treat. ...So there you have it. Next time you feel tongue tied at a party - let one of these tasty tidbits of trivia trip off your tongue. You'll be the talk of the town! "