Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Foregut Fermenter

Mammal that retains high-fiber foods in the stomach, where symbionts break down the cellulose component. The most specialized foregut fermenters are the artiodactyl ruminants (such as cattle and deer) that possess compartmentalized stomachs. Other mammals with large stomachs that are divided into sacs include macropods (kangaroos) and sloths; among the primates it is the folivorous colobine monkeys that are specialized foregut fermenters. Some workers have reported that woolly lemurs (Avahi) possess an incipient sacculated stomach. Foregut fermentation appears to be more efficient than hindgut fermentation.

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