The tongue is a muscle with glands, sensory cells, and fatty tissue that helps to moisten food with saliva. You cannot taste food unless it is mixed with saliva. For instance, if salt is placed on a dry tongue, the taste buds will not be able to identify it. As soon as saliva is added, the salt dissolves and the taste sensation takes place.
There are 4 basic tastes plus umami, which means “delicious” or “yummy” in Japanese. The salt and sweet taste buds are at the tip of the tongue, bitter at the base, and sour along the sides; in all, about 10,000 taste buds. Umami is sensed along the center part of the tongue.
On average length of a human tongue from the oropharynx to the tip is four inches (ten centimetres). But Stephen Taylor’s tongue is even longer! He holds the Guinness World Record for the longest tongue: most people can stick their tongue out at an inch or two but Stephen’s tongue, measured from the tip to the center of the closed top lip, measures 3.74 inches (9,5 cm).
The tongue is not, as commonly believed, the strongest muscle in the body. Based on muscle weight, the masseter, the main muscle in the jaw, is the strongest muscle in the body.
The longest tongue of any living being belongs to a blue whale. The tongue of a blue whale is as long as an elephant and weighs almost 3 tons.