Comparing The Efficiency Of Digestive Systems

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Comparing the efficiency of digestive systems:

Introduction: The following animals I am comparing have evolved to digest nutrients efficiently. The comparisons will determine who is more efficient at digesting different nutrients.

Horse and cow: Rumen vs Hindgut.

Horse VS Cow:
To begin with, the mouth of a cows isn’t much different to a horse, horses have 24 molars, 12 molars and 12 pre-molars. Some stallions/geldings may have wolf teeth that are used for fighting in the wild, but are not used for grinding down food. Their jaws move from side to side when they chew food, they have transverse ridges on the surface of their teeth that help to grind down the food. Cows have Cattle have 32 teeth. They have 6 incisors and 2 canines in the
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The horses stomach is very different to a cows, the horse has a very small stomach (about the size of a rugby ball) in proportion to its body, it makes up 10% of the capacity of the digestive system it has to eat in intervals, and have frequent periods of eating in order to be able to digest efficiently, this is called trickle feeding. In the horses stomach the food mixes with pepsin, which is an enzyme that helps digest protein, hydrochloric acid, which helps to break down solid particles and acids mix to begin to digest the food, but the main function is mostly storage. The horses hindgut is where most of the digestion of fibre is done, compared to a cow which digests fibre in its rumen. The rumen is much larger than the horses hindgut in relative comparison, meaning it can be more efficient.

The horses small stomach functions best if it is never quite full, this is important as horses cannot regurgitate.
However, cows have 4 compartments of the stomach, the rumen, which can hold 25 gallons or more and contains billions of bacteria, that do most of the digestion of the cows food, approximately 30-50% of the cellulose and hemicelluloses is digested in the rumen by microbial populations. The reticulum, is a pouch like structure with a honey-comb lining which aids the rumination and also traps foreign objects. The Omasum filters large particles back to the reticulum, and absorbs water and other substances
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