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Last Updated: Dec 15, 2016

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The tongue is anchored to the floor of the mouth and slung at the rear from muscles attached to a spiky outgrowth at the base of the skull. It is a strong muscle that is covered by the lingual membrane and has special areas that detect the flavor of food. The tongue is made up of muscles covered by mucous membranes. These muscles are attached to the lower jaw and to the hyoid bone (a small, U-shapedmycontentbreak bone, which lies deep in the muscles at the back of the tongue) above the larynx. There are very small nodules, called papillae, from the top surface of the tongue, which give it its rough texture. Between the papillae at the sides and base of the tongue are small, bulblike structures that are sensory organs, called taste buds, which enable us to enjoy the sensations of flavor and warn us when food is unfit to eat. The muscle fibers are heavily supplied with nerves, so it can manipulate food in the mouth and place it between the teeth for chewing-without being bitten in the process. The tongue also aids in the formation of sounds of speech and coordinates its movements to aid in swallowing.