International Journal of Human Diversity and Evolution
Coverage: 1923-1941 (Vols. I-XIX) & 1962-2021 (Vols. 1-59)
ISSN 0323-1119 (Print)
ISSN 2570-9127 (Online)
Special Issue dedicated to the memory of Vladimír Novotný is in preparation.

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'Hladik CM, Simmen B, Pasquet P, 2003: Primatological and Anthropological Aspects of Taste Perception and the Evolutionary Interpretation of "Basic Tastes". Anthropologie (Brno) 41, 1-2: 9-16'.
Taste perception has been studied in non-human primate species and in human populations, in terms of thresholds and supra-threshold responses. Taste thresholds of primate species, including lemurs, monkeys and apes vary in relation to dietary adaptations to beneficent and/or noxious compounds in various environments. Folivorous species such as Propithecus spp. and Gorilla gorilla not only tolerate high concentrations of tannins (corresponding to low taste thresholds), but may also prefer a range of concentrations which are deterrent to other primates. Frugivorous species such as Macaca spp. and Cebus spp. have the highest sensitivity to sugars; however there is a variation of a global trend towards low threshold as the species' body weight increases, according to specialization of feeding strategies. Electrophysiological records in both peripheral and central nervous system (data from Hellekant et al. and Scott et al.) show that primate sensory taste system is basically organized around two major clusters of fibers and their cortical projections. Co-variation between the neural responses to various compounds was observed for sugars, on the one hand, and for tannins and alkaloids on the other hand. Some responses, especially to various salts and acids vary between species, without well-defined relationships to the major clusters. Using co-variation of taste thresholds for the same type of compounds as an analogy in humans (n=412), we found a similar dichotomy of taste responses. In conclusion the human taste perception system is not basically different from that of the other primates, with a dichotomy allowing discrimination of noxious vs beneficent substances as a result of evolutionary interactions, and there is no evidence of a trend towards separate basic tastes.
Taste perception - Coevolution - Primat - Angiosperms - PROP status

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