The short answer is: no. But the explanation is not as straightforward as you think. We asked some tongue experts (yes, there are such experts) why this rumor is so gullible.
◇ The structure of the tongue
Maureen Stone, a major in dentistry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, guessed that the myth of a strong tongue stems from its ability to maintain its endurance while performing delicate tasks such as eating and speaking. "When was the last time you felt tired with your tongue?" she asked. "If you don't have any physical disorders, the answer may be never." Stone said that the toughness of the tongue comes from the way it is constructed-many similar muscles work together to accomplish the same task. " It won't fatigue
The question of whether the tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body by Stephen Tasko, a speech scientist at Western Michigan University, is itself misleading . Normally, the soft part we call the tongue is not a muscle, but a combination of eight muscles. Unlike other muscles (such as the biceps), the tongue is not attached to any bone growth. Instead, they are entangled to form a flexible matrix called muscular hydrostatic bone
The four muscles in the matrix are called extrinsic muscles
In addition to the above four muscles, other muscles together form the main body of the tongue. They allow the tongue to be twisted in different shapes and postures, allowing it to stretch, shorten, curl, flatten and roll into a cylinder, while providing assistance for speaking, eating, and swallowing.
Because the tongue is entirely composed of muscles and has no bones, it is very flexible and flexible, and can be "tossed and moved" without changing its volume. "It feels a bit like a water polo," Tusken said. "If you deform one side, he will bulge out from the other side." Tusken believes that the rumors of the extremely strong tongue persist because of its never-tiring flexibility. "We all know that the tongue can do all kinds of gymnastics," he said, "because it is always full of vitality and flexibility." He added: "Maybe this is the explanation of the strength of the tongue in people's hearts."
◇ A strong measure?
With a soft balloon in the mouth, scientists can measure the maximum pressure the tongue can withstand when it acts on an object. Put the detector on the tongue, and then push the test object against the upper jaw as far as possible into the mouth. Scientists use this spherical detector to measure the endurance of the tongue, that is, how long the tongue can remain in a position. Such testing will make the rumors self-defeating, because you are not testing muscles but the entire muscle system. But, in this case, what is the strongest muscle in the body? The answer is complicated and depends on the criteria for measuring muscle strength-but no matter what, the tongue is impossible to win.
There are many ways to measure power. One of them is brute force, that is, the greater the power, the better. All skeletal muscles are composed of many independent fibers that have strength together to form a structure called sarcomere. "Usually, more muscle tissue means more sarcomeres, which means more power can be generated," Tusken said. This means that the body's largest muscles-the quadriceps and gluteus maximus in the front of the thigh-are the strongest.
But muscle size and brute force do not mean everything. Muscles work by pulling bones, and bones act like levers to amplify tiny but powerful muscle movements. For example, when lifting dumbbells, the biceps pull the bones of your forearms to lift the dumbbells. Khalil Iskarous, a linguist at the University of Southern California, said that because your forearm is very long and your biceps are on the front of your upper arm near the elbow, you must use a lot of force to force your biceps. Your hands are raised above your shoulders. In contrast, your mandible is a much shorter lever, so the masseter muscle, the main muscle of the chin, is also a contender for the strongest muscle in the human body.
Or it has nothing to do with power at all, but with all the work done in a lifetime. If measured in this way, the strongest muscle is the one that keeps banging and banging every day to keep your blood flowing in your body, including all muscles-the heart.
◇ The benefits of exercising your tongue
The tongue may not be as strong as the muscles of the legs, jaw, or heart, but it is useful to increase its strength. Tusken said there is evidence that exercises to strengthen the tongue may be beneficial for people with swallowing problems, such as stroke patients. There are also people who speculate that exercising the tongue may help enhance speech skills or aid in the treatment of language disorders. But Tusken warned that these claims are still controversial and require future trials to verify.
But one thing is certain: the tongue is by no means the strongest muscle in the body. Perhaps people will continue to believe in the power of the tongue only because it is weird; it is indeed in your face, and people like to use the highest level in language. "People always want to associate the root of the tongue with the'most'," Escale said. "'The strongest' or the other'most', this may be the crux of the problem."
(The original text is from scientificamerican.com, the original authors Julia Calderone and Ben Fogelson, compiled by @jessn0limit.)