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April 16, 2022


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From the mouse-deer to the elephant, plant eaters come in all shapes and sizes. But how do they manage to flourish on a salad diet?

In this course, Studying mammals: Plant predators, we will examine the special features that allow them to extract their nutrients from leaves, and see how some plants protect themselves from these predators. This is the fourth course in the Studying mammals series.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • Describe the particular problems in digesting plant material
  • Give examples of the ways in which teeth are modified for a herbivorous diet
  • Explain the importance of digestive enzymes
  • Explain the importance of microbes in digesting plant material
  • Compare the main features of the digestive systems of ruminants and hindgut fermenters.

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction 00:10:00
  • Learning outcomes 00:07:00
  • The herbivores 00:15:00
  • The herbivore lifestyle – living on leaves 00:25:00
  • Herbivore teeth 00:25:00
    • A brief digression about digestion 00:20:00
    • Digesting cellulose 00:25:00
    • Ruminants 00:20:00
    • Pseudo-ruminants 00:20:00
    • Hindgut fermenters 00:20:00
    • Hindgut fermenters 00:20:00
    • Grazers and browsers 00:25:00
    • Plant defences 00:15:00
    • Introduction 00:05:00
    • Protein shortage 00:20:00
    • Shortage of minerals 00:10:00
    • Wildebeest migration 01:00:00
    • Living in herds 00:15:00
    • Conclusion 00:03:00

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