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Science >> Biology for Kids

Biology for Kids

Smelling and Tasting

Smelling and tasting are two of the five senses. They often work together, so we'll talk about both here.

Smelling and the Nose

We use our nose to smell things. At the top of the inside of our nose are millions of tiny little hairs called cilia. These hairs are connected to smell sensors which send signals to our brain about smell via the olfactory nerve. We smell things when they emit small molecules that float in the air and end up in our nose. We can't see these tiny molecules, but they are there. The reason we sniff is to get more of those molecules up into the top of our nose to where they can attach to the special sensors and determine the smell.

Smelling helps us in many ways. It first makes our food taste better. We can't really taste that many flavors, but with the help of smell we can "taste" thousands of different things. Also, smell helps to warn us from bad things like rotten food or smoke from fire.

Tasting and the Tongue

We use our tongue to taste things. The tongue uses taste buds or sensor cells to determine the type of food and send taste signals back to our brains. The tongue can taste four different flavors: bitter, sour, salty, and (maybe best of all) sweet. It was once thought that each of these tastes came from a different spot on the tongue: sweet from the tip, salty from the sides, sour from the back sides, and bitter from the back. Now scientists say that flavors can be tasted from most any part of the tongue.


Sour taste buds


Using Smell and Taste Together

As we discussed above, we can taste four distinct flavors. We can also smell over 10,000 smells. When we eat something, the flavor comes from a combination of taste and smell. Sometimes touch or pain can affect the taste as well due to the texture of the food or the hotness of spicy food.

Interesting Facts About Taste and Smell Experiment:
Smell - Experiment with the sense of smell.

More Biology Subjects

Cell
The Cell
Cell Cycle and Division
Nucleus
Ribosomes
Mitochondria
Chloroplasts
Proteins
Enzymes

The Human Body
Brain
Nervous System
Digestive System
Sight and the Eye
Hearing and the Ear
Smelling and Tasting
Skin
Muscles
Breathing
Blood and Heart
Bones
List of Human Bones
Immune System
Organs

Nutrition
Nutrition
Vitamins and Minerals
Carbohydrates
Lipids
Enzymes

Genetics
Chromosomes
DNA
Mendel and Heredity
Hereditary Patterns
Proteins and Amino Acids

Plants
Photosynthesis
Plant Structure
Plant Defenses
Flowering Plants
Non-Flowering Plants
Trees
Living Organisms
Scientific Classification
Animals
Bacteria
Protists
Fungi
Viruses

Disease
Infectious Disease
Medicine and Pharmaceutical Drugs
Epidemics and Pandemics
Historical Epidemics and Pandemics
Immune System
Cancer
Concussions
Diabetes
Influenza


Science >> Biology for Kids






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