Balucatherium most likely digested its food in
its intestines. An animal which does this is termed a hind gut fermenter. This is the same type
of digestion seen in present day rhinoceroses and elephants (seen on the right).
This type of digestion is not as efficient as the process employed by ruminants, such
as cows and giraffes, which have a four chambered stomach to serve as microbial vats.
Ruminants swallow their food into one stomach where it can be stored and partially
decomposed. The half digested food is then brought back up as cud for further
chewing and then reswallowed. This allows the animal to obtain the maximum nutrient uptake from
the food that it is eating.
Balucatherium on the other hand would have had
but one chance to drain the food of as many nutrients as it could before it was passed.
(Above: Cows, ruminant digesters, possess four stomachs
which aid in the
metabolic process. This allows the cow to
obtain the maximum amount of nutrients
from its food)
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