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1 February 2008 Light and Scanning Electron Microscopic Study of the Structure of the Ostrich (Strutio camelus) Tongue
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Abstract

The ostrich's tongue is situated in the posterior part of the oropharyngeal cavity and its length is only about a quarter of the beak cavity. The triangular shortened tongue has retained the usual division into the apex, the body and the root. There are no conical papillae between the body and the root of the tongue, and the presence of the flat fold with lateral processes sliding over the tongue root in the posterior part of the lingual body is a unique morphological feature. All lingual mucosa covers non-keratinised stratified epithelium, and the lamina propria of the mucosa is filled with mucous glands whose round or semilunar openings are found on both the dorsal and ventral surface of the tongue. The complex glands found in the lingual body are composed of alveoli and/or tubules. Moreover, simple tubular glands seen in the posterior part of the tongue root are an exception. Numerous observations have shown that the ostrich's tongue is a modified structure, though not a rudimentary one, whose main function is to produce the secretion moisturising the beak cavity surface and the ingested semidry plant food in this savannah species.

Hanna Jackowiak and Magdalena Ludwig "Light and Scanning Electron Microscopic Study of the Structure of the Ostrich (Strutio camelus) Tongue," Zoological Science 25(2), 188-194, (1 February 2008). https://doi.org/10.2108/zsj.25.188
Received: 12 March 2007; Accepted: 1 October 2007; Published: 1 February 2008
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