Whales - digestion

From: Dagmar Fertl (dagmar_fertl@hotmail.com)
Date: Thu Mar 30 2000 - 17:00:54 EST


Hi! My name is Marilyn Virella, I'm from Puerto Rico, and I need to know
the answer for this two questions about whales

1. How the digestive system works on whales and sharks?
Specifically parts and functions)

2. Bowel movement on whales and sharks.

Please answer me as soon as you can, I need this information before April
6th, 2000.

Thanks,
Marilyn Virella
*********************************
Marilyn,

Did you take the time to look up general information on a fish's digestive
system vs a mammal's system? That would answer some of your questions. This
type of information is not that easy to give in a condensed form, but I'll
try. After that, you'll need to go and fill in the fish information...I can
only help with the whale. I should tell you that the baleen whale digestive
system is slightly different from that of cetaceans....mainly because of
differences in food they eat.

Digestive system starts with tongue.
Then the esophagus.

Whales and dolphins have a complex stomach that is actually chambered, like
their closest living land relatives - cows. The four main compartments are:
forestomach - digestion starts here
fundic chamber of main stomach - gastric juices are here
connecting stomach - facilitates transport of digested food thru channel.
pyloric stomach - further digestion here

intestine
anus

With a general book on human digestion, you can piece together what happens
in the esophagus, etc.

Whales also have a liver and pancreas just like humans

Good luck with the project! I would also check the WhaleNet links to see if
there is perhaps some information in the SeaWorld educational packets that
can help.

Dagmar

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