Pacific Science Center

Bringing science to life.

PacSci-Doku: “Tongue Power”

By Dennis Schatz – Senior Advisor

Do you Sudoku? It’s one of the hottest number games around! Well, here’s a twist we think you’ll love. We call it PacSci-Doku. Can you guess why? Here’s how it works. Instead of filling in the blanks with numbers, we use letters. Hidden in one of the columns or rows is the answer to a science question. You’ll find information about the answer on the answer tab below.

The question in this edition is:

What animal’s tongue can extend for more than twice its body length?

To find the answer, complete this PacSci-Doku using the following nine letters:

E  e  A  O  N  H  L  C  M

PacSci-Doku: Tongue Power

Puzzle Difficulty: Medium

The Answer

PacSci-Doku: Tongue Power

The question in this edition is:

What animal’s tongue can extend for more than twice its body length?

The answer: Chameleon

Chameleons are best known for changing the color of their skin to match colors in their background – a very important trait to camouflage it from predators. But chameleons also have a tongue that can shoot more than twice its length with a force than cannot be explained by normal muscle biomechanics. The secret is a combination of its tongue, muscles, a tongue bone and collagen tissues (similar to ligaments in human bodies). The collagen wraps around the bone, which acts like a drawn bow – ready to shoot the tongue forward to capture the chameleon’s prey. Learn more about the chameleon’s unique tongue structure and see the tongue in action in this video.

 

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