Introduction to Digestive Systems

Compare and contrast different types of digestive systems

Animals obtain their nutrition from the consumption of other organisms. Depending on their diet, animals can be classified into the following categories: plant eaters (herbivores), meat eaters (carnivores), and those that eat both plants and animals (omnivores). The nutrients and macromolecules present in food are not immediately accessible to the cells. There are a number of processes that modify food within the animal body in order to make the nutrients and organic molecules accessible for cellular function. As animals evolved in complexity of form and function, their digestive systems have also evolved to accommodate their various dietary needs.

What You’ll Learn to Do

  • Identify the different structures required for herbivory and predatory diets
  • Compare and contrast different types of digestive systems
  • Explain the specialized functions of the organs involved in processing food in the body

Learning Activities

The learning activities for this section include the following:

  • Herbivores, Carnivores, and Omnivores
  • Invertebrates and Vertebrate Digestive Systems
  • Parts of the Digestive System
  • Self Check: Digestive Systems