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Unformatted text preview: East Africa. They are all herbivores (planteating animals), and they all appear to be living on the same diet of grasses, herbs, and small bushes. This appearance, however, is illusory. When biologist Richard Bell and his colleagues analyzed the stomach contents of four of the five species (they did not study buffalo), they found that each species was living on a different part of the vegetation. The different vegetational parts differ in their food qualities: lower down, there are succulent, nutritious leaves; higher up are the harder stems. There are also sparsely distributed, highly nutritious fruits, and Bell found that only the Thomson’s gazelles eat much of these. The other three species differ in the proportion of lower leaves and higher stems that they eat: zebras eat the most stem matter, wildebeests eat the most leaves, and topi are intermediate.
1. The word illusory in the passage is closest in meaning to ○definite
2. The word sparsely in the passage is closest inmeaning to ○widely
3. Which of the following questions about Richard Bell’s research is NOT answered in paragraph 1? ○Which of the herbivores studied is the only one to eat much fruit?
○Which part of the plants do wildebeests prefer to eat?
○Where did the study of herbivores’ eating habits take place?
○Why were buffalo excluded from the research study? Paragraph 2: How are we to understand their different feeding preferences? The answer lies in two associated differences among the species, in their digestive systems and body sizes. According to their digestive systems, these herbivores can be divided into two categories: the nonruminants (such as the zebra, which has a digestive system like a horse) and the ruminants (such as the wildebeest, topi, and gazelle, which are like the cow). Nonruminants cannot extract much energy from the hard parts of a plant; however, this is more than made up for by the fast speed at which food passes through their guts. Thus, when there is only a short supply of poorquality food, the wildebeest, topi, and gazelle enjoy an advantage. They are ruminants and have a special structure (the rumen) in their stomachs, which contains microorganisms that can break down the hard parts of plants. Food passes only slowly through the ruminant’s gut because ruminating—digesting the hard parts—takes time. The ruminant continually regurgitates food from its stomach back to its mouth to chew it up further (that is what a cow is doing when “chewing cud”). Only when it has been chewed up and digested almost to a liquid can the food pass through the rumen and on through the gut. Larger particles cannot pass through until they have been chewed down to size. Therefore, when food is in short supply, a ruminant can last longer than a nonruminant because it can derive more energy out of the same food. The difference can partially explain the eating habits of the Serengeti herbivores. The zebra chooses areas where there is more lowquality food. It m...
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This note was uploaded on 09/17/2013 for the course LANGUAGE 13DL208 taught by Professor Wang during the Fall '13 term at East China Normal University.
- Fall '13