Uploaded by gospeloluwaseun


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Hey there, have you seen a picture like this below and wondered, What's the function or essence of the black tongue and most
importantly, why is it splitted into two (forked)?. Well you're in for a shock as you'll get to know why it is forked and its function.
This kind of forked tongue is found mainly in squamates (i.e Order Squamata; snakes and lizards), and to put it bluntly, the tongue is
used for olfaction (smell). Are you surprised? Well, this is not to deny the fact that squamates possess nostrils but the nostrils are
used primarily for breathing and 'primitively' for olfaction.
The forked tongue functions in a similar way to the noses of humans. By flicking its tongue in the air, a snake can collect odorcausing particles that it then delivers to a sensory organ in its mouth - The vomeronasal organ (also called Jacobson's organ) which is
located just behind the nose and is only accessible via two thin grooves in the roof of the mouth. To “smell” the particles it collects
from the air, the squamate runs its tongue along pads at the base of the grooves, allowing the particles to travel up the grooves to
the sensory organ which is then interpretated by the brain. The forked tongue of a snake is thought to be advantageous because it
allows the snake to smell in three dimensions. Since the two tips pick up odors from slightly different locations in space, the snake
can detect the direction of the source of the smell.
So, there you have it. Whenever you see a snake doing that 'hiss' sound, don't be afraid, its smelling you! �