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Still Waters

Whales Can't Taste Anything But Salt

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Tastes are a privilege. The oral sensations not only satisfy foodies, but also on a primal level, protect animals from toxic substances. Yet cetaceans—whales and dolphins—may lack this crucial ability, according to a new study. Mutations in a cetacean ancestor obliterated their basic machinery for four of the five primary tastes, making them the first group of mammals to have lost the majority of this sensory system.

http://news.sciencem...hing-salt?rss=1

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“The loss of bitter taste is a complete surprise, because natural toxins typically taste bitter,” says zoologist Huabin Zhao of Wuhan University in China who led the study. All whales likely descend from raccoon-esque raoellids, a group of herbivorous land mammals that transitioned to the sea where they became fish eaters.

http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2014/05/whales-cant-taste-anything-salt?rss=1

Why the surprise? first it is not proven that they did descend from raccoon-esque raoellids, its only likely, so if they did not, then it would not be a surprise at all that they can only taste salty things..

2nd...again why the surprise? if they did descend from them, then surely evolution is not just confined to humans. Everything which evolves to its inhabitant will change somehow and if the whales no longer are eating the same food, then why would they need the other taste senses if they have no need for them?

3rd: what proof does he have that they had the other senses in the first place?

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Probably a good thing because raw whole squid, fish with internal organs and krill probably don't taste like your high grade ahi sashimi .

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That would be terrible, considering how much salt water they filter through their mouths.

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