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Taste is one of the most common and fundamental of the senses in life on Earth. It is the direct detection of chemical composition, usually through contact with chemoreceptor cells. Taste is very similar to olfaction (the sense of smell), in which the chemical composition of an organism's ambient medium is detected by chemoreceptors. In a liquid medium, taste is often used to describe this act as well.

In humans, the sense of taste is conveyed via three of the twelve cranial nerves. The facial nerve (VII) carries taste sensations from the anterior two thirds of the tongue, the glossopharyngeal nerve (IX) carries taste sensations from the posterior one third of the tongue while a branch of the vagus nerve (X) carries some taste sensations from the back of the oral cavity.

See also Flavor, Basic tastes.

Taste in aesthetics

Taste can also refer to one's appreciation for aesthetic quality. Paul Graham notes, "I think it's easier to see ugliness than to imagine beauty. The recipe for great work is: very exacting taste."

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