2. Digestive System

  1. Digestion in the mouth

Little physical digestion occurs in the mouth as most sharks swallow their food whole or in very large pieces. Food goes down the short and wide esophagus; most of the time it is hard to distinguish from the stomach. This is unlike the human digestion in the mouth, as humans do a lot of physical digestion by chewing their food.

  2. Digestion In the stomach

Sharks have U-shaped stomachs that use very strong stomach acids and enzymes to dissolve most of what is eaten. The digestion in the stomach is also different from humans because of the differentiation in diet. Our system does not require as strong stomach acids and enzymes because we eat lighter foods than sharks. Stomach contents that cannot be digested, such as very large bones, are vomited.

  3. Digestion in the Intestine

The stomach leads to the intestines which in sharks, is referred to as the spiral valve. The intestines are short but have a large surface area due to the infolding of the inner surface, some are arranged in folds, and some are in a spiral pattern. The digestive tract leads to the rectum and to the cloaca. The cloaca is a common opening for the urinary, digestive, and reproductive systems. Human intestines contain villi and microvilli, just like the spiral valves are arranged in folds or spirals to increase surface area and nutrient absorption. Both digestive tracts also contain a rectum however humans have an anus instead of a cloaca.



All about sharks. (1998, January 1). Enchanted Learning. Retrieved November 20, 2011, from http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/sharks/

Sharks & rays. (n.d.). SeaWorld/Busch Gardens animals . Retrieved November 20, 2011, from http://www.seaworld.org/animal-info/info-books/sharks-&-rays/index.htm


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