Cat teeth: search trumps experience

Do cats have molars? A hunt for the answer goes away from the animal in question and straight to the computer.

We’re watching the cat eat her breakfast ever so slowly, and my son says it’s weird that cats don’t have molars. No molars? I say. We disagree. The answer is standing on four furry paws about three feet from us. But instead of picking her up and prying open her mouth, he runs to the computer and runs an image search on “cats’ teeth.” (He probably didn’t use the apostrophe, but that’s for another post…)

The point is this: Search is replacing the knowledge we gain from experience: the tactile, slightly risky, scratched fingers variety. We can learn more facts this way, but do they mean as much to us? One final point is that none of the pictures he found really showed me the back of the mouth. So the question’s still unanswered. And I don’t feel like wrestling with the cat and getting my work clothes (as they are) hairy.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.