Hyena has a cat’s tongue (picture)

This picture of a spotted hyena’s tongue shows us that it has backward facing hard spines on it to help shred the flesh from prey. They are keratin spines very similar to those on all cats, domestic and wild. They are called filiform papillae. Domestic cats have them for grooming. Do the wild cats have spines on their tongues to help shred flesh from bones too? I’d expect so.

Spotten hyena has a cat's tongue with backward facing spines
Spotten hyena has a cat’s tongue with backward facing spines
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This is the similar cat’s tongue:

Cat tongue
Cat tongue. Photo in public domain on Pinterest.

The spines are different to those of the hyena. They are longer in relations to the size of the tongue and look sharper. That said it is interesting that hyenas have this specialised anatomy. As for taxonomy, the spotted or laughing hyena is the sole extant member of the genus Crocuta. Dogs are members of the genus Canis. Both species are in the biological family called Carnivora.

Keratin is the same material that makes the dead part of a cat’s claws and their hair strands. It is the same for humans except we have nails not claws.

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