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Describe two adaptation in carnivores which enable them to live on a diet of...

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kazz711 | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted June 11, 2013 at 6:26 AM via web

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Describe two adaptation in carnivores which enable them to live on a diet of perdominantly protein.

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mvcdc | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted June 11, 2013 at 2:42 PM (Answer #1)

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Carnivores are animals that eat only 'meat.' Particularly, carnivores are those animals that derive energy from animal tissue whether through predation or scavenging.

Two of the most easily recognizable anatomical features or adaptation of carnivores are their sharp teeth and jaws that move in a vertical manner. Sharp teeth are necessary for tearing apart meat and flesh of their food. In the case of predation, sharp teeth is also necessary for them to easily kill their prey, in contrast to herbivores which usually have dull and flat teeth for grinding plants. Herbivores and omnivores grind food by side-to-side chewing. Carnivores, however, move their jaws vertically, and thus their bites are vertical, providing motion that resembles cutting. With their sharp teeth and vertical jaw motion, they can easily tear apart their food.

Another adaptation is simple and acidic digestive tracks. Since the main food of carnivores is meat, their diet consists mainly of proteins. Proteins are more easily digested. Hence, the digestive tracks of carnivores are shorter and simpler. In order to kill bacteria from decaying meat/food, digestive tracks of carnivores are also exceptionally acidic, maintaining the pH level at around 1-2. 

Amylase is found in saliva of herbivores and omnivores. Amylse helps in the digestion of food, particularly carbohydrates. This enzyme is not found in the saliva of carnivores. This is because their main diet is protein, and hence, amylase is not needed very much. Amylase, though, is still found in their pancreas, and are still able to digest some carbohydrate-containing food. The absence of the enzyme in their saliva, however, makes them more inclined (and easier for them) to have protein-rich food.

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