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Book Chapter

Comparative taste biology with special focus on birds and reptiles

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Rowland, H. M., Rockwell Parker, M., Jiang, P., Reed, D. R., & Beauchamp, G. K. (2015). Comparative taste biology with special focus on birds and reptiles. In R. L. Doty (Ed.), Handbook of olfaction and gustation (pp. 957-982). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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This chapter comprehensively reviews and consolidates taste research on birds and reptiles. It also reviews what is known about their taste anatomy, physiology, and molecular biology. This provides a basis for understanding taste preferences and feeding behavior. The chapter introduces the concept of taste, based on research from humans and animal model systems, where information is more complete. It describes the nature of taste as a stimulus, the organization of receptor cells, and how taste perception is evaluated. The chapter discusses how dietary niches have likely shaped the taste system of birds and reptiles during evolution and brings to light their sensory experience of food and how this may not be easily translated into human experience. It examines the evidence for reptilian taste bud occurrence, taste behavior, and genetics, and focuses on sweet and bitter taste.