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Today I learned how cats and dogs drink water. The water sticks to their tongues and the upward pull creates a water column from inertia (the liquid continues to move in the direction pulled). Then, before gravity pulls it down, they snap their jaws shut, capturing the water.

Until now, it was thought that they used remarkably different techniques to drink: for felines, an elegant lap; for canines, a messy scoop.

But scientists have shown the domestic rivals both use the same subtle balance between inertia and gravity to draw liquid into their mouths...

Using high-speed cameras, scientists filmed Cutta Cutta the cat, who belonged to lead author Roman Stocker from the US Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as she drank.

They found that as her tongue came into contact with the surface of the water, the liquid stuck to it. Then, as she drew her tongue back towards her mouth, it created a water column, thanks to inertia, which means liquid has a tendency to continue moving in the direction it is being pulled.

Finally, when the column was at its peak - and before gravity forced it back down - she snapped her jaw shut, capturing the liquid...

To discover in precise detail how dogs drink, he trained a high-speed camera as well as an X-ray camera onto his dog Matilda.

He said: "At first, it looked like dogs were scooping, but that is a snare and a delusion."

...just like a cat, water was adhering to the back of Matilda's tongue to create a water column. And then, just as the water was about to fall back towards the bowl, she was snapping her mouth shut to get her drink.

The only difference between cats and dogs was the fact that the cats tended not to break the surface of the water with their tongues, while dogs opted to penetrate their tongues deep into the bowl.

Cats and dogs use same technique to lap up liquid

What did you learn recently?


Original posting by Braincrave Second Life staff on May 31, 2011 at http://www.braincrave.com/viewblog.php?id=567

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