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Animals and Their Adaptations

Last Updated: 20th March 2021

- Adaptation helps animals to feed, move and protect them from danger


- Mammals are classified into 3.
  • Herbivores - They feed on plants only (e.g Cows, Goats, Zebras, Buffalos)
  • Carnivores - They feed on flesh only (e.g Lions, Leopards)
  • Omnivores - They feed on both flesh and plants (e.g Man, pigs)

Adaptations of Herbivores

- Their tongue collects, holds and grips plants.
- Their incisors (only found on the lower jaw) is used for biting and holding food.
- Presence of a diastema (toothless gap) that enables turning of food in the mouth
- Hard pad on the upper jaw to help hold plants tightly

Adaptations of Carnivores

- Have incisors for catching and holding prey
- Presence of long and pointed canines for tearing flesh
- Have carnassial teeth for slicing flesh and cracking bones
- Molars are used for crushing bones.
Carnassial Teeth are Molars and Premolars teeth modified for shearing flesh. Their cusps ( singular: cusp - pointed feature in tooth) have sharp cutting edges that sharpen each other as they pass each other.

Adaptation of Omnivores

- Have incisors for biting food
- Have Canines for tearing flesh
- have molars and premolars for chewing and grinding food

Birds and their adaptation

All birds share some characteristics
  1. Warm blooded (endothermic)
  2. They are vertebrates because they have backbones
  3. Have a four chambered heart. Same as mammals
  4. Have only two legs
  5. Forelimbs are modified for flying. Please note that not all birds fly. Consider an ostrich.
  6. Birds have hollow bones to provide the light bodyweight for flight
  7. Have large chest muscles that move the wings.

Below are some bird adaptations of both feet and beaks
Feet and Beak adaptations of Birds
Filtering Birds
Picture showing the feet and beak of a filetring bird
E.g Ducks, Flamingos
Insect Catching Birds
Picture showing the feet and beak of an insect eating bird
E.g Nighthawks
Hole Drilling Birds
Picture showing the feet and beak of a hole drilling bird
E.g Woodpecker
Meat Tearing Birds
Picture showing the feet and beak of a meat tearing bird
E.g Hawks, Vultures
Probing Birds
Picture showing the feet and beak of a probing bird
E.g Hummingbird, Heron
Seed Cracking Birds
Picture showing the feet and beak of a seed cracking bird
E.g Sparrow

It is estimated that an Eagle's eyesight is 4 to 8 times stronger than an average human. It can actually spot a rabbit 3.2 km (2 miles) away!
Adaptation of fish to swimming
Picture showing the main parts of a fish
- The dorsal and anal fins enable the fish to swimming in a straight line and prevents rolling
- The pectoral and pelvic fins allow the fish to swim up and down and also for steering
- The tail fin enables the fish to move forward
- Fish have swim bladder that controls the depth of swimming
- Fish scales are directed backwards and are covered with mucus which helps reduce friction.

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