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Alimentary Canal

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Updated: September 14, 2006

Definition:

Imagine that you put one end of a hose in your mouth and kept threading it through until it came out of your butt. That's more or less what the alimentary canal is.

You put food in one end of the tube and it's processed during its journey to the other end of the tube, where the waste material comes out.

In real life, the alimentary canal consists of the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. In adults, the alimentary canal is about 30 feet long.

Other names for the alimentary canal include the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, digestive tract, alimentary tract, and nourishment canal.

To learn more about the anatomy of the digestive system, please take a look at the Anatomy of the Large Intestine gallery.

Sources:
  1. Alimentary Canal. Tiscali Reference. 12 Sep. 2006 [http://www.tiscali.co.uk/reference/encyclopaedia/hutchinson/m0016696.html].
  2. Gastrointestinal Tract. Wikipedia. 12 Sep. 2006. 12 Sep. 2006 [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digestive_system].
  3. Length of the Human Alimentary Canal. The Physics Fact Book. 12 Sep. 2006 [http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2001/AnnaTaran.shtml].
Also Known As: alimentary tract, gastrointestinal tract, GI tract, digestive tract, nourishment canal

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