Friday, August 5, 2005

12 Year Old's Science Project Leaves Scientists in the (Sugar) Dust

Researchers at the prestigious Monell Chemical Sciences Center in Philadelphia have found that cats are unable to taste anything sweet. Apparently, there is some sort of genetic defect that prevents them from having the proper receptors to taste sweets.

Joseph Brand, Ph.D., spearheaded this study, which received funding from Mars Inc., the National Institute of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. This is a major breakthrough in science, and the possibilities of applying this knowledge are many.

However, this discovery was already made by a then-12 year old girl in Hawaii five years ago.

Lisa Manuzak was 12 years old when she decided to make her household cats her science project for the school science fair. She used different bowls of water, each with specific types of taste: bitter, sour, salty, sweet, and one plain. Lisa tracked the taste preferences of her two pets for one month. Her conclusion:

Cats can't taste anything sweet.

Apparently Lisa's cats tried the salt water, didn't like the sour or bitter, and drank the sweet and plain water equally. Further using the power of observation, she noticed that catfood naturally contained tastes cats love, like meat.

Lisa's science project was all funded by her father, Robert. The total cost of the project was just about $0...five bowls, some water, sugar, etc.

Fast forward five years later, and 17 year old Lisa Manuzak finds the article on cats written by the Associated Press just this past Monday, August 1st. She and her family got a big kick out of seeing real scientists coming to "outdated" conclusions about the feline taste buds, but Lisa doesn't mind not getting any attention, credit, or big grant from scientific foundations or U.S. agencies...

Her project was rewarded with an "A."


Mr. B said...

Makes you wonder what other discoveries kids are making out there. Great story!

The Phoenix said...'s curious and intelligent kids like Lisa that give me some hope about the future generation. That is, until another punk kid throws another beer bottle into my yard.

Yawn said...

Then why all the horror stories about the kittens getting into the antifreeze ...."because it's sweet???"

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