Nov 13, 2010

A Cat's Tongue is Really Fast! (News)

A team of engineers from M.I.T., Virginia Polytechnic and Princeton decided to examine the mystery of the cat's tongue. And what we found out is that a cat's tongue, when lapping, is FAST ...really fast: Cat's lap typically at a rate of about 4 times per second - a bit too fast for the human eye to detect anything more than a blur.

Cat's tongues are very efficient too. Where a dog's tongue moves slowly, forming a crude cup shape to pull water up to its mouth, a cat cat darts its tongue, curving the upper side downward so that the tip lightly touches the surface of the water. The tongue is then pulled upward at high speed, drawing a column of water behind it.

This whole operation depends on a cat's instinctive ability to calculate just the right balance of forces between gravity and inertia. So now you know that your cat is a physicist ...along with his/her many other talents. Cats Lap With Just Tip of the Tongue, Engineers Find - NYTimes.com
Cats lap water so fast that the human eye cannot follow what is happening, which is why the trick had apparently escaped attention until now.