Why do humans chatter their teeth when they feel cold?

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Sean Moore

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Sean Moore  asked the Naked Scientists:

Hey Chris,
Obviously I love the show. Only a fool couldn't.

Why do humans chatter their teeth when they feel cold? I've heard it's to produce heat, but I'm sceptical of that because I don't feel it is a significant generator. Is it more of an inherent warning system telling us to seek heat? Do any other animals have chattering teeth?

Blue skies,

Sean Moore
-Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

What do you think?

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Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Why do humans chatter their teeth when they feel cold?
« Reply #1 on: 04/07/2008 10:10:16 »
Could it be that the cold inhibits signals to the brain causing them to become intermittent? Cold could alter the state of the liquid crystal (myelin) that surrounds the nerves and cause them to misfire producing the spasms in the jaw?

Just a guess.

Andrew
Science is continually evolving. Nothing is set in stone. Question everything and everyone. Always consider vested interests as a reason for miss-direction. But most of all explore and find answers that you are comfortable with