How science discovered the supertasters

Supertasters are seemingly normal humans who have more bumps on their tongues — a difference that allows them to taste more intensely than average people and (as a side effect) to detect bitter flavors that most of us miss. And they were discovered by accident, when one scientists could taste the chemical dust released in his laboratory and his colleague could not.


  1. So the tongue-bump experiment was to lick embossed letters and see if you could recognize them. Supertasters could taste P when the rest of us, thankfully, could not.

  2. For me it is not a superpower that I would have asked for. I have a very bland diet as I avoid flavorful foods as they are too intense. Although I do wonder how normal tasters perceive “bland food” as even something like plain white rice has flavor to me.

    The article did leave out the non-tasters. The Wikipedia article says that the population is about 25% non-tasters, 50% medium tasters and 25% super-tasters.

  3. I agree with ObeyMyBrain, it’s not a superpower I really like having.  But, that’s because I happen to have one of the common comorbids…  Selective Eating Disorder.  Which basically is “Super picky, but to the point of being downright neurotic”.  I used to have panic attacks at the thought of eating peas!  And also, as wiki points out, us supertasters are way more prone to capsacin burn.  I personally can’t eat spicy things at all.  I can’t even eat things that other people assure me “aren’t spicy”, because I can feel that heat even if they can’t.  Sucks when trying to pick restaurants and everyone wants mexican or sichuan or indian.

    1.  Very much the same issues with picky eating with me. I have eaten the same breakfast every day, rice chex for probably 8 years now and only switched to that when I developed horrible stomach pains from the almonds in Honey Nut Cheerios (get the same pains from eating cherries, damn cyanide). I get a great deal of anxiety when going out to eat because it will mean having to pick something that I likely have not eaten before. When Dominoes changed their recipe a few years ago I stopped getting it because it was too peppery. So yeah, I hate food because food hates me. I do wish I could eat more variety.

  4. I taste many things I touch or smell. Different parts of the tongue tingle or has some different sensation with certain smells than others. If I shake hands with a smoker or a meth head – I can taste it. 

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