Honey Possum Case Study Answers

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1. The honey possum has a long pointed snout, a brush-tipped tongue, reduced jawbones and muscles, and pointed incisors and canines but small peg-like teeth. It also has ridges across the roof of its mouth. Explain how these adaptations relate to the animal’s diet, which is usually a mixture of nectar and pollen. 

Answer
The honey possum’s adaptations relate to its diet because they do not need massive jawbones and muscles to eat the pollen and nectar. Their long pointed snout and brush-tipped tongue help the Honey Possum get easier access to the pollen and nectar. The ridges on the top of the mouth also help the honey possum get the nectar and pollen off their tongues.
Reference
Honey Possum, unique nectar-eating marsupial. (n.d.). http://www.honeypossum.com.au/
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The eastern grey kangaroo has a big space on its upper and lower jaws between the incisors and the premolars. Explain the significance of this morphology (structure). Answer
The gap is called a diastema, the significance of the Eastern Grey Kangaroo’s big space on the upper and lower jaws is to allow food to be stored in the cheek while the Kangaroo eats so it doesn’t have to slow down to chew and swallow the food.

Reference
Dental And Skull Anatomy Of Carnivores, Herbivores, And Omnivores. (n.d.). http://www.mainstreetsmiles.com/dental-and-skull-anatomy-of-carnivores-herbivores-and-omnivores/

3. Describe the function of the dingo’s carnassial teeth. 

Answer
The function of the dingo’s carnassial teeth is to cut and eat through bone and flesh.

Reference http://www.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_function_of_the_large_carnassial_teeth 4. Identify the different parts of the digestive systems and describe their functions. 

Answer
Oesophagus – transports food and liquid from the mouth to the stomach.

Stomach – Stores and digests the food.

Small intestine - Further digestion of foods, carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It is also where the nutrients of the food get absorbed into the
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Large intestine- Absorption of water and nutrients wrinkled to increase surface area

Reference
Normal Function of the Oesophagus. (n.d.). http://umm.edu/programs/gi-hepatology/services/barretts/normal-function

Anatomy & Function of the Esophagus, Stomach & Intestines. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2 2083&aid=512

Cecum. (n.d.). http://www.britannica.com/science/cecum

5. Using Figure 2, Estimate the length of each digestive system. 

Answer
The estimated length of the Eastern Grey Kangaroo’s digestive system is 480 cm.
The estimated length of the Dingo’s digestive system is 340 cm.
The estimated length of the Honey Possums digestive system is 12 cm.

Reference
Figure 2 Digestive systems of a) the eastern grey kangaroo M. giganteus, b) the dingo C. lupus dingo and c) the honey possum T. rostratus

6. Calculate the length of each digestive system relative to the body size by dividing the length of the digestive system by the appropriate body length.

Answer
Eastern Grey Kangaroo: 480 divided by 115 = 4.17

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