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Smell and Taste

Everyone has seen a lizard flick their tongue out. It is also common in snakes. The lizard is using their tongue to assist the nose with identifying smells. The Jacobson's Organ works with the tongue to process chemicals in the air, and does the majority of the work for the brain in this regard. It has also been seen as an important factor in mating.

Lizards tongues come in all shapes and sizes, but they all effectively do the same thing when they flick out, except for chameleons. The tongue picks up pieces of a scent, and brings it back into the mouth to the Jacobson's Organ, located at the top of their mouth. Cells on the tongue and in their mouth also collect these particles.

Terrestrial lizards seem to have higher developed sensory organs, as it is easier to discern smells at ground level where they are stronger. Hunting and foraging for food is only one use of the Jacobson's Organ. It has been seen that recognizing reproduction partners and courtship during the mating process are both secondary functions.

 

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