5 Astonishing Facts About The Digestive System

Most animals are characterized as eukaryotic and multicellular in nature. The animal kingdom classification helps in organizing and grouping different species. These grouped members have common attributes that help in defining and studying characteristic features on the whole.

The higher animals in the animal kingdom, i.e., humans and most vertebrates exhibit advanced features in all aspects of life. The various life processes exhibited by humans are:

  • Respiration
  • Growth
  • Digestion
  • Excretion
  • Reproduction
  • Nutrition

Out of all the life processes that are carried out, digestion plays one of the key roles in the growth and development of an organism. It fuels the body to perform daily activities. The digestive system is formed by a series of organs perform various functions.

Alternatively, the digestive system is also known as the alimentary canal, which starts right from the mouth and extends up till the anus. The digestive system also harbours a huge number of bacteria, and it is collectively referred to as gut microbiome that aids in food digestion.

5 Facts About The Digestive System

Listed below are 5 facts about the digestive system that may amaze you:

  1. Food can reach your stomach once ingested even if you are in space, it does not require gravity

 When food is ingested, it simply does not slip through the oesophagus and enter the stomach. Specialized muscles present in the oesophagus relax and constrict in a wave-like motion, a process termed as peristalsis to push the food downwards to the stomach. Hence even when food is consumed while you are upturned, the food still manages to find its way to your stomach.

  1. Most of the digestion is carried outside the stomach

Mechanical digestion is carried out in the stomach which brings about the churning and mixing of gastric juices, disintegrating food into a paste known as chyme. The stomach is involved in very little digestion, small intestine makes up for about 75% of the digestive tract’s length. Most of the absorption and the digestion of food nutrients are carried out here. 

  1. Not all animals in the animal kingdom have the same stomach

Some animals in the animal kingdom have stomachs with several compartments. For example –  Sheep are known as ruminants, they have a four-chambered stomach consisting of the rumen, reticulum, abomasum, and omasum.

On the other hand, some animals such as lungfishes, platypuses, and seahorses do not have a stomach. The food they ingest passes from the oesophagus right into the intestines.

  1. The digestive system is prone to more cancers than any other organ system of the body

The cancer of the gastrointestinal tract includes stomach cancer, colon cancer, esophagus cancer, rectum cancer. And more than half of these cancers ultimately leads to death.

  1. The smell of the flatulence can be attributed to the gut microbiome

In the gastrointestinal tract, a combination of – air that is swallowed and the gases generated as a result of bacterial fermentation produces the flatus or the intestinal gas. Some food components are simply pushed down the digestive tract to the large intestine as they cannot be disintegrated or absorbed during which a throng of bacteria are involved in the process liberating different gases which include hydrogen, carbon dioxide, methane, and hydrogen sulfide etc, hence producing the stench.

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