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Old 03-26-2020, 02:21 PM
Apollon is offline
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: European Union, Austria
Posts: 337

Human anatomy question: What is the function of palatal rugae?

I tried to find an answer by googling, but all (and I mean ALL) search results deal with how palatal rugae can be used to identify corpses, or to help dentists in assessing this and that treatment. But I can't find any link that discusses why humans (and animals) have them in the first place.

My guess is that they help us hold food in place while we're chewing. I have noticed that cats and dogs have massive rugae, while humans only have tiny ones. Maybe they function as a sort of grippers, preventing prey from escaping?
Or do they house any glands or receptors?
Old 03-26-2020, 08:54 PM
road_lobo is offline
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 240
It seems they're sometimes called plicae:

"Rugae are only evident when an organ or tissue is deflated or relaxed. For example, rugae are evident within the stomach when it is deflated. However, when the stomach distends, the rugae unfold to allow for the increase in volume. On the other hand, plicae remain folded regardless of distension as is evident within the plicae of the small intestine walls."


"On the anterior portion of the roof of the hard palate are the transevese palatine folds (rugae) which are the irregular ridges in the mucous membrane that help facilitate the movement of food backwards towards the pharynx."

Old 03-26-2020, 09:05 PM
kitap is offline
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 428
My father (taught human anatomy) thinks it might increase the sensations as it increases sensory neurons.


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