Tongue Rolling Is Probably Not Passed down from Your Parents
Growing up you were a kid that COULD or you were the kid that COULDN'T. (Just for the record, I was one of the kids that COULDN't!) I wanted to be one of the COULDS, I would even practice in a mirror, just trying to teach myself how to do it. But it never worked.
My sophomore year in high school was the year I was taught that I was a COULDN'T because of the way I was made. My biology teacher, Mr. Trautmann, said that people who COULD roll their tongue had a different gene then those that COULDN'T.
Biology wasn't one of my strong subjects in school. Honestly, I don't recall too much information from the class, except that tongue rolling was genetic. But you might be surprised to know that what many biology students are learning about tongue rolling is actually not true.
According to research done by an evolutionary biologist named John McDonald, everything that we have been taught about tongue rolling being a dominant trait, is all wrong.
McDonald points out that the theory of tongue rolling being from a passed on, dominant trait probably started in 1940. That theory was debunked in 1952 by researcher Philip Matlock. Matlock did a study on identical twins and the tongue-rolling ability and was able to prove that if it was a dominant trait, both twins would have the ability to roll their tongues. But often times, that wasn't the case.
McDonald did say that genetics may have a little to do with it, but the ability to roll the tongue may come from a gene that controls tongue length or even muscle tone.
But while you might think that the tongue-rolling myth is harmless, McDonald said that he has received emails from kids who worry about the tongue-rolling status of themselves and their parents. Because tongue-rolling is often thought of as something being passed from parent to child, the most common question is, "Are my parents really my parents, or am I adopted?" McDonald is usually pretty quick to respond by saying, " If your mom and dad can’t roll their tongues, don’t worry. Chances are you’re still their kid."
Source: PBS Newshour