Digestive tracts are specialised to suit the food/feed selection and dietary strategies of the animal and the animals’ ability to obtain nutrients from this diet.
a. Why is the giant panda referred to as a ‘vegetarian carnivore’? (10 marks)
b. Describe one other specialist feeder species (can be from anywhere in the world, both terrestrial and aquatic) and briefly describe the key physiology and metabolism that allows the animal to obtain nutrients from this diet. (10 marks)
c. You are a ’mad scientist’ that has found a way to breed an entirely new species of animal from scratch. Describe the basics of a digestive system (including teeth, tract type such as key stomach structure, other accessory organs where relevant, and any metabolic adjustments) for a new species that you have designed that feeds upon one of the following foods (select one only): (25 marks)
i. Meat from seals or other aquatic mammals
ii. Grape plants (including fruit, leaves and stems)
v. Another food/feed of your choice (be creative / strange!)
*note – there is no ‘correct’ answer to part c, be creative but use your knowledge (and some more research) on digestive physiology to make these decisions. Use dot points to justify the choices you have made.