Friday feature of facts that I find fascinating but others seem to find frivolous
I’m doing a new weekly feature called Frivolous Fact Friday! I came up with the idea after I was shot down by a friend who is in charge of the daily trivia board at her work. She was having trouble coming up with a trivia question the other day, so I told her to ask:
“What is the only known member of the order Carnivora that is able to taste artificial sweeteners?”
The answer is: Red panda (Ailurus fulgens)
She told me that my question and fact was silly and not as interesting as an Elvis fact or something (I don’t remember what she picked instead). I was deeply offended, because I was really into Red Pandas at the time. So I’m starting this new feature just to spite her (but I still love her!)
So why is this interesting?
Prior to this study that uncovered this fascinating fact, only primates were known to be able to taste artificial sweeteners. In addition, cats cannot taste sugar at all (yet my cats still try to eat my ice cream). While Red Pandas are in the order Carnivora, they are herbivores and eat mostly bamboo. This study gives insight into the evolution of taste. It can also help us understand how we detect sweets and develop more acceptable sugar substitutes for diabetics and other sugar restricted people.
So what do you think? Fascinating or frivolous?