Penguins No Longer Have a Strong Ability to Taste

‘this doesn’t taste fishy’… shouldn’t it taste fishy????

TIME

Penguins no longer taste their food the way most of the animal kingdom does, according to a new study.

According to the researchers, vertebrates usually have five tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. But after studying the genetic sequencing of Adelie and emperor penguins, analyzing penguin tissue, and comparing the birds genomes to 14 other non-penguin bird species, the researchers discovered that penguins have lost all but the salty and sour tastes.

“Penguins eat fish, so you would guess that they need the umami receptor genes, but for some reason they don’t have them,” said study author Jianzhi Zhang, a professor at the University of Michigan Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in a statement. “These findings are surprising and puzzling, and we do not have a good explanation for them. But we have a few ideas.”

The researchers believe that perhaps over 20 million years ago…

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