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A freely movable muscular organ that lies partly in the floor of the mouth and partly in the pharynx. It is the organ of taste and contributes also to chewing, swallowing, and speech.
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The tongue consists of a body and root and is attached by muscles to the hyoid bone below, the mandible in front, the styloid process behind, and the palate above, and by mucous membrane to the floor of the mouth, the lateral walls of the pharynx, and the epiglottis. A median fold (frenulum linguae) connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. The surface of the tongue bears numerous papillae of three types: filiform, fungiform, and circumvallate (or vallate). Taste buds are present on the surfaces of many of the papillae, esp. the vallate papillae. Mucous and serous glands (lingual glands) are present; their ducts open on the surface. The lingual tonsils are lymphatic tissue on the base of the tongue. A median fibrous septum extends the entire length of the tongue.

Arteries: The lingual, exterior maxillary, and ascending pharyngeal arteries supply blood to the tongue. Muscles: Extrinsic muscles include genioglossus, hypoglossus, and styloglossus; intrinsic muscles consist of four groups: superior, inferior, transverse, and vertical lingualis muscles. The hypoglossal nerves are motor to the tongue; the facial and glossopharyngeal nerves are sensory for taste. Nerves: Lingual nerve (containing fibers from trigeminal and facial nerves), glossopharyngeal, vagus, and hypoglossal.

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