The Lion’s Tongue
Caption: Yawning lioness (above and right) showing the long tongue with papillae or barbs on the surface.
Camera: Canon EOS 50D; Lens: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM; Focal Length: 400mm; Shutter speed: 1/200; Aperture: f/5.6; ISO: 400.
Lions (Panthera leo) are members of the cat family (Felidae) and, like domestic cats, the surface of the tongue is covered in sharp papillae or tiny barbs that give it a rough feel.
Lions use their tongues for grooming and eating. While grooming, the rough surface helps a lion remove insects and debris from its fur as it licks itself.
The rough surface also means a lion can lick fragments of meat from bones after a kill, ensuring it gets maximum return for its effort in bringing down prey.
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