Flexible whiskers

Compared to a cat’s whiskers, a human male’s beard and mustache are stiff and unexpressive. The cat’s whiskers—technically, the vibrissae—are controlled by various facial muscles, which can point the whiskers out or, when feeding or fighting, pull them backward toward the head.

The long upper-lip whiskers are called mystacials, and the muscles under them can move the bottom and top rows of hairs independently. The short whiskers on the lower jaw are called mandibulars.

The whiskers on the cheeks are called genals, and the antennalike whiskers above the eyes are known as superciliaries. Quite apart from the face, each front leg has backward-pointing hairs that serve the same function as the head whiskers. All of them are, of course, supersensitive touch receptors.
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