Investigating Digestive and Gas Exchange Systems





Investigating Digestive and Gas Exchange Systems

Question one


The tongue is important for swallowing and tasting food in an adult mammalian pig. The top of the tongue, the dorsum, is cover with tiny nodes that contain taste buds and serous glands. Some of the fluids in saliva are secreted by the serous glands. The tongue through saliva is essential for swallowing food. Taste buds taste food through receptors then sends the message to the brain.

Gall bladder

It stores and concentrates bile produced by the liver when it is not being used for digestion. Bile is a digestive enzyme essential in breaking down of fatty foods in the small intestines and draining waste products from the liver to the duodenum (part of the small intestine).


It acts s storage and passageway of digested food (digesta) in the small intestines. It is responsible for the breakdown of nutrients. It is divided in four regions that is, esophageal, and cardiac, fundic and pyloric.

Small intestine

It is the main surface for nutrients absorption. It is divided into three parts, the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. The duodenum is mainly responsible for continuous breakdown while the jejunum and ileum ensures absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream. The pancreas is the most vital organ in the digestive system. It is responsible for secretion of insulin and glucagon, secretion of enzymes and sodium bicarbonate. The liver produces bile that breaks down fatty acids.

Large intestine

It absorbs water from the chime coming from the small intestine. Its large surface equips it for high absorption capacity.


It receives food from the mouth when swallowed and passes it to the stomach

Parotid gland and duct

Parotid gland secretes saliva into the mouth through the parotid duct to facilitate swallowing and beginning of digestion of starch foods.


Filters air coming from the larynx and delivers the filtered air into the bronchi, which passes air to the lungs.


They assist oxygen to enter the blood vessels, which transport it to the rest of the body. They also filter out carbon monoxide from the body through breathing out.


A dome shaped sheet of muscles divides the chest and the abdominal cavity. It enables breathing through the muscle contraction and expansion. It is the main organ of respiration.

Question two (ii)

The Bar-headed Goose is famously known for its ability to fly to high altitudes of up to 9,000metres during migration across the Himalayas. Himalayas is the earth’s highest mountain region containing among the world’s highest mountains; Mount Everest as high as 8,841m.

The bird’s ability for it to circulate blood better than the rest of its genus (Canadian, greylag, pink-footed, red-breasted, and Brent goose) regardless of the conditions is what makes it different.

The hemoglobin of the Bar-headed Goose is able to remain saturated with oxygen even in regions that are “…approximately 26% less oxygen pressure” (Bio 203, 2016; Butler, 2010).

According to the article, effects of deficiency of oxygen in the tissues of the body does not affect the young bar-headed during development of flight and leg muscles as other lower altitude birds. Their adaptation to surroundings with low oxygen begins early before hatching (Bio 203, 2016; Butler, 2011).

Fall in temperature due to high altitudes prompts increased oxygen affinity in hemoglobin of bar-headed goose (Bio 203, 2016; Meir, and Milson, 2013).Another adaptation is the hyperventilating mechanism to increase oxygen intake in regions of low oxygen in the body tissues. Hyperventilation may lead to insufficient level of carbon dioxide in the blood interfering with the transportation of oxygen to the brain in other organisms unlike the birds. This is notably the major adaptation feature that enables it to remain focused and functional while flying at such great heights.

Works cited

Butler, Patrick. High Fliers: The Physiology of Bar-Headed Geese. Maryland heights, Missouri: Elsevier, 2010. Print.

Meir, Jessica, and William Milson. “High Thermal Sensitivity Of Blood Enhances Oxygen Delivery In The High-Flying Bar-Headed Goose.” Journal of Experimental Biology 216 (2013): 2172-2175. Print.

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