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Science says your cat’s tongue is ideally suited for grooming fur

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Edward Lambert
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There's rarely time to write about every cool science story that comes our way.

The secret: hundreds of hollow, rigid spines lining the surface of the tongue, according to a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

(One of his students, Patricia Yang, recently made headlines with her insights into why wombats produce cubed poo.)

She was watching her cat try to "groom" a fluffy microfiber blanket one night and noticed its tongue kept getting snagged in the fibers.

A cat's fur consists of a top coat with very thick hairs and an undercoat with lots of thin downy hairs that help keep the animal warm.

Grooming is a necessary activity to untangle the fur and remove fleas, debris, even excess heat so the cat can cool off, since cats only have sweat glands on the pads of their paws (or "toe beans," if you prefer).

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Edward Lambert
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