The science of nutrition and healthy eating
The science of nutrition and healthy eating

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The science of nutrition and healthy eating

1.2 Digestive system of a pig

Pigs are a similar size to humans and they also eat a range of different foods. The following video shows the digestive system of a pig. What differences can you identify between the pig and the human digestive system?

Download this video clip.Video player: Please note this video has graphic images of the digestive system of a pig. If this is too gruesome for you, you might prefer to read the transcript instead.
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Transcript: Please note this video has graphic images of the digestive system of a pig. If this is too gruesome for you, you might prefer to read the transcript instead.

JAMES KINROSS
Here we go.
MICHAEL MOSLEY (VOICEOVER)
Surgeon and gut specialist James Kinross has brought along the intestine of an animal that was destined for the food chain.
JAMES KINROSS
So what we have here, this is a pig from mouth down to the anus at this end here.
MICHAEL MOSLEY
Right, so this is--
MICHAEL MOSLEY (VOICEOVER)
Although we don’t look much like pigs on the outside, their intestines are remarkably similar to ours.
JAMES KINROSS
And what you can see is that the gastrointestinal tract is basically a tube, and it runs literally from your mouth all the way down to your bottom.
MICHAEL MOSLEY
OK.
JAMES KINROSS
So what you have is the oesophagus at the top end. We can actually trace all of this bowel the whole way down.
MICHAEL MOSLEY (VOICEOVER)
The walls of the small intestine feel surprisingly delicate, and they are threaded with tiny capillaries.
JAMES KINROSS
What you’ll see is there’s a layer of connective tissue.
MICHAEL MOSLEY
Oh, yes.
JAMES KINROSS
So the bowel has this connective tissue which takes the blood supply, and you can see the blood supply here. So when you absorb a meal, obviously the nutrition you take out of it has to get into the blood supply.
MICHAEL MOSLEY
Yeah, and that’s what’s happening to me at the moment.
JAMES KINROSS
So let’s see how long this.
MICHAEL MOSLEY (VOICEOVER)
The human small intestine is roughly 4 metres, the length of this table. A pig’s is much longer.
JAMES KINROSS
Return journey.
MICHAEL MOSLEY
Keep going, and keep going.
MICHAEL MOSLEY (VOICEOVER)
Our intestines absorb about seven litres of food, fluid, and gut secretions every day.
End transcript: Please note this video has graphic images of the digestive system of a pig. If this is too gruesome for you, you might prefer to read the transcript instead.
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