How Many Muscles Are in a Human Tongue?

many-muscles-human-tongue Credit: Hans-Peter Merten/Photodisc/Getty Images

Despite myths hailing it to be the strongest single muscle in the body, the human tongue is actually comprised of eight different muscles, according to the Richmond Smile Center. The muscles that comprise the tongue are skeletal muscles.

According to HowStuffWorks, some of the tongue's muscles originate outside of the tongue and are called extrinsic muscles. Others originate inside the tongue and are called intrinsic muscles. The intrinsic muscles help the tongue change its shape while extrinsic muscles help the entire tongue move. The tongue is very important for eating, speaking, tasting and swallowing. A layer of mucus covers the tongue to protect it from pathogens and debris.