This study was undertaken to address the lack of information about tongue functional deformation in relation to jaw movement and muscle activity. Dimensional changes in tongue anterior and base widths, body length and base thickness were measured using six ultrasonic crystals implanted into the tongue in eight Yucatan minipigs. Jaw movements were captured on videotape and digitized, and electromyography (EMG) of tongue intrinsic (verticalis/transversus [V/T], superior and inferior longitudinalis [SL, IL]), extrinsic (genioglossus and styloglossus [GG, SG) and jaw (masseter and digastricus [MA, DI]) muscles were recorded. Signals from these three sources were synchronized. Tongue dimensions showed stereotyped and rhythmic changes during chewing cycles, with the largest changes in the body length and base thickness of the contralateral (non-working) side. The anterior tongue widened during jaw opening while the tongue base widened and thickened during jaw closing. The body lengthening accompanied base widening and ended at early power stroke, while base thickening lasted through most of the power stroke. Significant associations were found between changes of anterior width, body length and base thickness and integrated EMGs of VT, SL, SG, GG, MA and DI, but not IL. Thus, majority of tongue dimensional expansions occur during jaw closing. Intrinsic tongue muscle activities are not correlated more with tongue dimensional changes than are extrinsic tongue and jaw muscle activities. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.