Alimentary canal

set of organs ensuring the ingestion and digestion of food
(Redirected from Gastrointestinal tract)

Alimentary canal is the term used in zoology for the gut of vertebrates. For humans in particular, see digestive system.

Gastrointestinal tract

The canal (or tube) carries food through digestion and excretion.[1] Into the tube come various digestive enzymes. Gut flora help digestion, and the production of vitamins. Muscular movements pass the material down the tube. The gut usually has an exit, the anus, by which the animal disposes of solid wastes. Some small animals have no anus and dispose of solid wastes by other means, for example through the mouth.[1]

Evolutionary history


The gut evolved at least twice, an example of convergent evolution. Protostomes develop their mouths first, while deuterostomes develop their mouths second. Protostome include arthropods, molluscs, and annelids, and deuterostomes include echinoderms and chordates, including humans.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Ruppert E.E., Fox R.S. and Barnes R.D. 2004. Invertebrate zoology. 7th ed, Brooks/Cole. ISBN 0030259827