Carnivores lose sweet taste according to reports in ScienceDaily 12 March 2012 and ABC News in Science 13 March 2012. In 2005 Scientists at Monell Chemical Senses Centre, Philadelphia, USA, found that cats have a defective gene for the sweet taste receptor. They have now followed up this discovery by studying a number of other mammals to see if they have lost taste receptor genes. They found that the sea lion, fur seal, Pacific Harbor seal, Asian otter, spotted hyena, and banded lingsang also have defective sweet taste genes. They noted that all these animals were also meat eaters.

Mammals with intact sweet taste genes include the aardwolf, Canadian otter, spectacled bear, raccoon, and red wolf. Some of these are exclusive meat eaters, but others have a mixed diet. The researchers also studied taste receptor genes in bottle nosed dolphins and sea lions, both of which swallow their food whole. The researchers found both had non-functional genes for sweet and umani (savoury) receptors. The dolphin also has non-functional genes for bitter taste. Gary Beauchamp, a behavioural biologist at Monell, commented: “Sweet taste was thought to be nearly a universal trait in animals. That evolution has independently led to its loss in so many different species was quite unexpected”. He went on to say: “Different animals live in different sensory worlds and this particularly applies to their worlds of food. Our findings provide further evidence that what animals like to eat – and this includes humans – is dependent to a significant degree on their basic taste receptor biology”.

ABC, ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: Whatever you can taste will certainly affect what you like to eat, but it has nothing to do with evolution. In all the examples found by the Monell researchers genes had become defective, i.e. genetic information was lost. This is change, but it is not evolution. It is devolution, or degeneration, and it does not explain how the ability to taste different flavours came about in the first place.

These results are exactly what you would expect from the Biblical history of the world, i.e. created perfection followed by degeneration. In the beginning all animals ate plants and had fully functioning taste genes. Following the Fall of Man and Noah’s Flood many animals have lost functional genes due to degenerate mutations as their genomes gradually collapse over time. It is interesting to note that the first scavengers are listed in Genesis just prior to the flood (Genesis 7 – “unclean” creatures) but the first carnivores are not listed till the days of Job (e.g. Job 4:11, 9:26) so it is not surprising that in animals which had by choice become carnivores, the loss of sweet taste has not affected their ability to survive, so any defective taste loss genes have not been eliminated by ‘natural selection’ acting on them. (Ref. diet, genetics, devolution)

Evidence News 21 March 2012