Flickr/Photo by Steven Depolo (CC BY 2.0)

Why We Don't Bite Our Tongues When We Eat

If you’re chewing food while reading this, a series of specific neurons in your brain are stopping you from biting your tongue. As natural as this seems, it’s actually pretty complex. Researchers at Duke University recently tracked two types of cells in the brains of mice—premotor neurons and motoneurons—to analyze how they work together to control motions while munching. The study, published in eLife, shows that premotor neurons and motoneurons work together to govern jaw openings and tongue protrusion, while motoneurons help with closing the jaw and retracting the tongue.

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