Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Coprophagy

Ingestion of feces. In some small, herbivorous mammals this can be the reingestion of their own feces; these mammals have guts that are too short to allow complete breakdown of cellulose by symbionts. Such animals typically have a relatively large cecum where symbiotic microbes break down cellulose; this process continues as the nutrients are reingested and begin to be absorbed at the lower end of the small intestine. Common among voles and rabbits; among primates only Lepilemur has been suggested as a coprophage. Aka refection, caecotrophy.

See caecotrophic pellets.

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