We received a press release carrying the following subject title – “Ostriches aren’t chokers and can’t taste a thing either”. This was a discovery of Dr. Martina Crole, who received her doctorate in veterinary science from the University of Pretoria (UP) on Friday 11 April. She works as a lecturer in veterinary anatomy in the Faculty of Veterinary Science at UP’s Onderstepoort campus.
Dr. Crole’s doctorate was based on work of the Upper Digestive Tract of Ostriches.
Her research found that an ostrich can’t taste a thing and will not easily choke, because of a pocket in its tongue. These are reported as a couple of a number of interesting findings that Dr Crole made during her research.
Dr Crole spent many a day in the field and laboratory using forceps and her fingers to manipulate and study still flexible fresh specimens. She wanted to find out exactly how it is possible for an ostrich not to choke even though it doesn’t have an epiglottis (which, in people for instance, prevents food or water from ending up in our wind pipe). It also has quite a wide glottis or opening to the wind pipe that needs to be closed during swallowing to prevent choking.
These are a couple of papers discussing the work and findings.