But do you know that cats are oblivious to the taste of sweet food?
Other than your pet feline, Asian otters, spotted hyenas, sea lions and dolphins are also oblivious to the heavenly taste. I'm starting to feel really bad for these animals.
But why carnivores?
Two genes are largely responsible for our sweet tooth – Tas1r2 and Tas1r3. They encode two proteins that combine to form a sensor, which dots our tastebuds and detects sugar molecules. In 2005, scientists showed that all cats, from house tabbies to wild tigers, carry a useless version of Tas1r2. Over time, it has picked up so many mutations that it has become genetic scrap.--http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience
Jiang discovered that Asian small-clawed otter and cats, which had a broken sweet-tooth gene will drink from a bowl of sugary water as often as it will from a bowl of plain water, but the spectacled bear (with its working copy) clearly prefers the sweet drink.
|Spectacled Bear. Image: animals.nationalgeographic.com|
It also reminds us that we're not as good as we think we are. Though some predators can't detect taste which we can, they could hear or see things which we can't. It's up to nature to decide which gene to discard to meet the demands of our lifestyle.
info: Jiang, Josue, Li, Glaser, Weihua, Brand, Margolskee, Reed & Beauchamp. 2012. Major taste loss in carnivorous mammals. PNAS DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1118360109