Q:

Why do women have more taste buds than men?

A:

Quick Answer

Professor Tim Jacob of Cardiff University, writing for the Physiological Society, states that scientists believe that women have more taste buds than men because of evolution. Women are responsible for the health of their babies, so it was evolutionarily important for women to immediately recognize the tastes of toxins that might harm a child.

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Full Answer

The theory that evolution is the reason that women have more taste buds than men is proven in part with the fact that women have an increased sensitivity to bitter tastes, and Jacob points out that toxins taste more bitter when they first become pregnant. During this time, fetuses are the most vulnerable.

Professor Jacob divides people into three groups as far as tasting goes. People are either supertasters, regular tasters or non-tasters. About half of all people are in the regular group. Women tend to be supertasters or non-tasters, and men tend to be regular tasters. Women also have more taste buds and papillae, which are the red dots on the tongue, than men. Also, genetics play a role in the number of taste buds women have. While some women may have many taste buds and be supertasters, others may have far fewer and be non-tasters.

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