Physics of Biology

   

Adaptation of Gestation or Egg-laying in Species Depends on the Amount of Internal Heat Generated in Digesting the Food

Authors: Karunakar Marasakatla

Anatomically and physiologically, the reproductive process of gestation or egg-laying, and dietary habits in vertebrates appear to be distinct processes. An in-depth analysis of the dietary habits of vertebrates reveals that the gestation or egg-laying characteristic in these species is tightly coupled with the digestive process. Once the food has been ingested, it is then broken down to the molecular level to be absorbed into the body. The amount of energy required to digest the food depends upon the amount and composition of the food material that was ingested. The denser (ex. bones and muscle) and bigger the size of the food bits ingested, the higher the amount of energy required to break down the material - that in turn requires higher amount of gastrointestinal acids. Where there is higher amount of energy is consumed, there will be an excess amount of heat gets generated. To protect the embryo from this heat, a layer develops around it. Therefore, it appears that the higher amount of heat generated in digesting the food results in egg-laying characteristic in species such as birds and reptiles, which ingest large chunks of raw meat. Rest of the vertebrates adapted to gestation due to chewing the food into small pieces before ingesting which generates less internal heat in digestion.

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[v1] 2018-12-31 11:57:19

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