Affordable Access

Publisher Website

The physiological basis of adaptation in goats to harsh environments

Authors
Journal
Small Ruminant Research
0921-4488
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
35
Issue
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0921-4488(99)00096-6
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Geography

Abstract

Abstract Goat living in harsh environments represents a climax in the capacity of domestic ruminants to adjust to such areas. This ability is multifactorial: low body mass, and low metabolic requirements of goats can be regarded as an important asset to them for it minimise their maintenance and water requirements, in areas where water sources are widely distributed and food sources are limited by their quantity and quality. An ability to reduce metabolism allows goats to survive even after prolonged periods of severe limited food availability. A skillful grazing behaviour and efficient digestive system enable goats to attain maximal food intake and maximal food utilisation in a given condition. There is a positive interaction between the better recycling rate of urea and a better digestion of such food in desert goats. The rumen plays an important role in the evolved adaptations by serving as a huge fermentation vat and water reservoir. The water stored in the rumen is utilised during dehydration, and the rumen serves as a container, which accommodates the ingested water upon rehydration. The rumen, the salivary glands and the kidney coordinately function in the regulation of water intake and water distribution following acute dehydration and rapid rehydration. Goats in the tropics, when possible, eat a diet composed of tree-leaves and shrubs (browse), which ensure a reliable and steady supply of food all year around, albeit, from a low to medium quality food. Some of the physiological features of ruminants defined as intermediate feeders like large salivary gland, the large absorptive area of their rumen epithelium, and the capacity to change rapidly the volume of the foregut in response to environmental changes are most likely responsible for the goat’s superior digestion capacity.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.

Statistics

Seen <100 times
0 Comments

More articles like this

Genetics, adaptation, and invasion in harsh enviro...

on Evolutionary Applications Mar 01, 2010

On the physiological basis of adaptation of the di...

on The British journal of physica... December 1957

Structural basis of Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase adaptation t...

on Nature Structural & Molecular... May 2007
More articles like this..