The Tounge Tastebud Map: All Wrong

Interesting new information on taste FYI from Scientific American.

One of the most dubious “facts” about taste–and one that is commonly reproduced in textbooks–is the oft-cited but misleading “tongue map” showing large regional differences in sensitivity across the human tongue. These maps indicate that sweetness is detected by taste buds on the tip of the tongue, sourness on the sides, bitterness at the back and saltiness along the edges.

Taste researchers have known for many years that these tongue maps are wrong. The maps arose early in the 20th century as a result of a misinterpretation of research reported in the late 1800s, and they have been almost impossible to purge from the literature.

you know, they were wrong about there only being four kinds of taste, too.

there is also now the ‘umami’ taste bud category, for sensing the flavor in things like ham.