Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Extrinsic muscle of the tongue. The genioglossus originates from the mental spines of the mandible and inserts into the hyoid bone and the inferior portion of the tongue. Its action is to protrude and depress the tongue; it also is responsible for the groove in the tongue that enables infants to grasp a nipple and channel milk to the pharynx. The attachment to the mandible prevents the tongue from moving posteriorly and obstructing breathing.

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