Edward Stevens C. 2001. CD-ROM teaching unit on the digestive system of vertebrates. In Edwards M, Lisi KJ, Schlegel ML, Bray RE, Eds., Proceedings of the Fourth Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition, AZA Nutrition Advisory Group, Lake Buena Vista, FL.
The present-day vertebrates are comprised of approximately 45,000 species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals that have adapted to a wide-range of freshwater, marine, and terrestrial habitats. Their digestive system provides for the assimilation of the energy and nutrients required for maintenance, growth, and reproduction. This is accomplished by complex series of episodic events that reduce food to a limited number of readily absorbable nutrients and reject or destroy most toxic or infectious agents. Many of the basic characteristics of the vertebrate digestivesystem are common to all species. However, its various components show a wide range of structural and functional adaptations to the habitat, diet, energy requirements, and other physiological characteristics of the species. Some of these adaptations are the result of divergence from a common or more primitive form. Others represent convergence on similar structures or functions in distantly related species. These adaptations tell us a great deal about the basic functions of the digestive system, their integration with other systems of the body, and how these may have evolved.Stevens – CD-ROM Teaching Unit On The Digestive System Of Vertebrates.pdf     976 KB