Museum of Science and Industry


For Pi Day, why not talk about sweets? Or, more specifically, taste! Scientists at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia found that some carnivores have evolved to disable their sweet detector gene. Hyenas, for example, would not be able to fully enjoy a cherry pie this Pi Day. Other sweet-blind animals include Asiatic small-clawed otters, sea lions, and two kinds of seals. (Previously, this center's research found that even domestic cats are indifferent to sweetness.)

We're among the omnivores who have kept sweet sensors (thank goodness), as was found in fellow omnivores the raccoon and the spectacled bear. On the other end of the spectrum, the vegetarian giant panda can detect sweetness, but not umami, the "savory" taste.

Can you imagine being part of a taste study like this? Check out Taste Buddies here at MSI to test your tastes! Also, pass me a slice of pie, would you please?

Photo credit: mindluge via flickr

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Museum of Science+Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637
1 (773) 684-1414
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