What is the strongest part of the body
Is the tongue the strongest muscle in humans?
It can bend and twist, suck and slobber: our tongue is made for all vital to playful moments in life. However, to begin with, she wrongly carries an award. Because it is not the strongest muscle in the body, even if it is sometimes claimed. Admittedly, not entirely without reason: Tongue experts (yes, there are) reveal that the wrong answer could in principle also have been correct.
Maureen Stone - she works at the Maryland University School of Dentistry - suspects that the myth of the super-strong tongue is the astonishing endurance with which the muscle performs subtle processes such as speaking and eating. After all, when have you ever had sore muscles in your tongue? "Probably never", says Stone and explains that the endurance of the muscle has to do with its characteristic structure: Many identical parts can be responsible for one and the same process. "The tongue doesn't tire because there is a lot of redundancy in its muscle architecture. Different muscle fibers take turns to perform certain tasks."
Multiple muscles in the tongue
Speech expert Stephen Tasko from Western Michigan University says that the question of the tongue as the "strongest muscle" would be wrong anyway, because the flat meatball is a conglomerate of no less than eight different muscles. In contrast to others - such as those of the arm flexors, which are anatomically half incorrectly called biceps - the muscles of the tongue are not formed around a supporting bone. Instead, they twist around each other, creating a flexible matrix called a "muscular hydrostat": Similar structures are the tentacles of octopuses or the trunks of elephants.
Four muscles in this matrix (the "extrinsic" ones) anchor the tongue in the head and neck area: one maintains contact with the base of the skull, another with a cervical bone in the throat, another connects the tongue with the lower jaw, and one wraps around the roof of the mouth. All together allow movement from left to right, top to bottom and front to back and vice versa.
All other muscles are part of the tongue body: They give it the almost unlimited flexibility with which it elongates, shortens, flattens or bulges. They also keep them in the form needed for speech production or eating and swallowing.
As a muscle without bones, the tongue is extremely supple in all sorts of shapes and forms, but without changing its volume. It resembles, explains Tasko, "a water-filled balloon: if you push it in on one side, it bulges in another place." Incidentally, he suspects that the myth of the super-strong tongue stems from its tireless flexibility: "We all know and practice these various tongue gymnastics exercises all the time - because the tongue is constantly in action and flexible, you can easily associate this with strength."
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