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Nutrition in Plants and Animals

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Herbivores and Carnivores

Herbivores

Most do not have upper incisors. Instead they have a horny pad against which grass is pressed and cut by the lower incisors.

They have a long tongue that assists in the cutting and moving food.

They have a gap in the lower jaw separating canines from premolars known as diastema which allows the tongue to manipulate food.

Herbivore teeth have open enamel which allows for continuous growth to replace worn out surfaces due to grinding.

Their incisors are wedge shaped to cut grass and vegetation together with the horny pad.

The jaws have movable joints to allow the sideways movement of lower jaw to facilitate grinding of grass.

Image:Dentition of herbivore

Carnivores

Their incisors are chisel shaped and closely fitting to seize the prey.

Their canines are long, conical and curved to hold, kill and tear the prey.

Some of their premolars in the lower and upper jaw are modified into specialized carnassial teeth which have smooth sides and sharp edges to slice through flesh and crush bones.

Premolars and molars are broad with cusps for crushing bones.

Their jaws are attached to powerful muscles that move the jaws up and down.

Carnivores are adapted to fast running by possessing well developed leg muscles.

Image:Dentition of carnivore
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