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What does a meat diet have to taste sweet?

Most carnivores have long since lost their ability to feel the sweet flavours. It allows us to believe that the type of diet that was used by a given species, plays a significant role in its evolution. Most mammals have the ability to taste sweet, sour, bitter or salty, as well as spicy, at least this is what scientists believe. Subsequent studies only confirm the existence of minor exceptions.

Some time ago scientists from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Pennsylvania and the Swiss University of Zurich proved that domestic cats, as well as wild cats, are certainly not able to differentiate between tastes like sweet, because over time cats have been damaged by one of the genes, which is important for building a sweet taste receptor. Cats are basically only carnivores, so scientists wanted to see for themselves whether other species, including the strict diet, also lost their sweet taste receptor.

These specialists have looked at more than twelve species of mammals, whose diet consists in particular of meat. These scientists were especially interested in genes, which were responsible for the so-called presence of sweet taste receptors, means Tas1r2 and Tas1r3. It turns out that as many as seven species in the presented Tas1r2 gene had different genetic mutations, which at the same time make it impossible to feel the "sweet taste" - this is how the researchers described this phenomenon. As a result, as many as three seal species, as well as dwarf otter, spotted hyena and bottlenecked dolphins do not feel the "sweet taste".

For some time it has been said that sea lions and dolphins have evolved quite strongly from land mammals, but tens of millions of years ago they returned to the aquatic environment. At the same time it seems that three genes of taste receptors are closed in "dolphins". As a result, one may also think that these animals do not feel sweet taste, neither bitter nor spicy. Experts tell us that diverse species live in different worlds of impressions, especially in their world of food.


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