Thursday, February 14, 2008

♥ ♥ What's in a Kiss? Science of Kissing ♥ ♥

With Valentine's Day upon us, it is not surprising to see web articles about kissing... how to kiss, how not to kiss, best movie kisses, best lips (btw, who is the owner of the famous lips in the pic over there--->). What about the science of kissing? Why do we kiss? Is there a biological basis of kissing? A recent article at Scientific American has all the answers... well, a few answers and it is all free and available if you follow this link. You should check it out but here are some tidbits that I found particularly interesting:
  • Kissing may have evolved from primate mothers’ practice of chewing food for their young and then feeding them mouth-to-mouth.
  • Osculation is the fancy, scientific term for kissing... as in "I don't osculate on the first date."
  • Up to 10% of the human population does not kiss, that is over 650 million people... I assume that is a cultural thing?
  • Some scientists theorize that kissing is crucial to the evolutionary process of mate selection. Bad kisser = bad genes? Sort of a litmus test for mates.
  • The process of kissing utilizes five of the 12 cranial nerves to transmit signals to and from those lips... can you name them? See the end of this blog post. I am trying to remember them all.
An interesting issue that caught my attention is the idea of the kiss as an important factor in mate selection (i.e., the litmus test). Does a kiss provide more information about compatibility then we consciously realize? Everybody says how important the first kiss is, right? Perhaps a couple's "kissing compatibility" signals some sort of primal or fundamental fit between potential mates.... or... maybe it is just kissing. Who knows.

One thing not discussed in the article is the origin of lips... there must be some anthropologist studying this stuff... lip morphology? Was a certain type of lip selected for during evolution through mate selection? We might assume nowadays that bright, full lips were probably attractive to mates but is that really true of our ancestors? Is there any biological significance or advantage of full versus thin lips other than mate selection? Have lips changed dramatically since our more ancient, primitive ancestors? Maybe ask your physical anthropology professor. PS- Everything you wanted to know about Lip Anatomy and more courtesy of two different articles at eMedicine. [Link1] and [Link2]

****
Answer for 5 Cranial nerves used in kissing: Trigeminal V (sensory touch for tongue and lips); Facial VII (muscles to move lips); Hypoglossal XII (muscle to move tongue); Facial VII and Glossopharyngeal IX (taste sensation from the tongue); hmmm they say 5 of the 12 so perhaps they include Olfactory I (smelling while you kiss).




~~BIO26~~

6 comments:

shellbelleri said...

My best guess is Audrey Hepburn?
-Michelle Meza

California State University, Sacramento said...

Nope... younger actress...

sugi said...

scarlett johansen...

California State University, Sacramento said...

Good call... Scarlett Johansson is correct. And by the way, they do look like Audrey Hepburn. Good guess. That is worthy of 2 pts...

shellbelleri said...

Scarlett Johansen was sooo my second guess! I didn't think her lips looked that juicy in the pic., though. Tricky....

l0c0m0c0 said...

we get points for this? are those real class points, or 'props' points (you know, the fake kind..)?