The Cheetah In Comparison to the Human Body By Katie Morton

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The cheetah is a large-sized feline inhabiting most of Africa and parts of the Middle East. It is the only existing member of the genus Acinonyx. In lower classifications, they are called Asiatic Cheetah or Northwest African Cheetah.

The name Cheetah comes from the term 'Chitraka' in the ancient Indian language Sanksrit, which means "spotted one."

Taxonomy :


Phylum :Chordata

Class : Mammalia

Order: Carnivora
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Genus: Acinonyx

Source :

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The Anatomy of a Human
The Digestive system:

Digestion is the process by which food is broken down into smaller pieces, by the mouth and salivary glands, so the body can be provided energy and so cells can be nourished. Digestion involves the mixing of food, its movement through the digestive tract (or alimentary canal), and the chemical breakdown of larger molecules into smaller molecules. Every piece of food we eat has to be broken down into smaller nutrients that the body can absorb, so it takes hours to fully digest food.
The digestive system is made up of the digestive tract. This consists of a long tube of organs that runs from the mouth to the anus and includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine, together with the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas, which produce important secretions for digestion that drain into the small intestine. The digestive tract in an adult is about 30 feet long.
  • Mouth and Salivary Glands- external image digestive-system.bmpThis is where digestion begins and chemical and mechanical digestion both occur. Saliva or spit, produced by the salivary glands (located under the tongue and near the lower jaw), is released into the mouth. Saliva begins to break down the food, moistening it and making it easier to swallow. A digestive enzyme breaks down the carbs( sugar and starches) and chewing allows food to be mashed into a soft mass that is easier to swallow and digest later. Movements by the tongue and mouth then push it back to the back of the throat for it to be swallowed. Then the epoglottis, A flexible flap, closes over the trachea (windpipe) to ensure that food enters the esophagus and not the windpipe.
  • Esophogus- This is a muscular tube that is about 10 inches long. The esophagus is located between the throat and the stomach. Muscular wavelike contractions, or peristalsis, push the food down through the esophagus to the stomach. A muscular ring called the cardiac sphincter, at the end of the esophagus, allows food to enter the stomach, and then it closes to prevent food and fluid from going back up the esophagus.
  • Stomach-This is a J-shaped organ that lies between the esophagus and the small intestine in the upper abdomen. The stomach has 3 main functions:
  1. to store the swallowed food and liquid
  2. to mix up the food, liquid, and digestive juices produced by the stomach
  3. and to slowly empty its contents into the small intestine.The food is processed into a liquid form called chyme. After eating a meal, the chyme is slowly released a little at a time through the pyloric sphincter, a thickened muscular ring between the stomach and the first part of the small intestine called the duodenum. Most food leaves the stomach by four hours after eating.
  • Small Intestine, Pancreas, Liver and Gall bladder-Most digestion and absorption of food occurs in the small intestine. The small intestine is a narrow, twisting tube that occupies most of the lower abdomen between the stomach and the beginning of the large intestine. It extends about 20 feet in length. The small intestine consists of three parts: the duodenum (the C-shaped part), the jejunum (the coiled midsection), and the ileum(the last section).
    The small intestine has two important functions:
    1. The digestive process is completed here by enzymes and other substances made by intestinal cells, the pancreas, and the liver. Glands in the intestine walls secrete enzymes that breakdown starches and sugars. The pancreas secretes enzymes into the small intestine that help breakdown carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The liver produces bile, which is stored in the gallbladder. Bile helps to make fat molecules (which otherwise are not soluble in water) soluble, so they can be absorbed by the body.
    2. The small intestine absorbs the nutrients from the digestive process. Undigested material travels next to the large intestine.
  • Large Intestine-Forms an upside down U over the coiled small intestine. It begins at the lower right-hand side of the body and ends on the lower left-hand side. The large intestine is about 5-6 feet long. It has three parts: the cecum, the colon, and the rectum. The cecum is a pouch at the beginning of the large intestine. This area allows food to pass from the small intestine to the large intestine. The colon is where fluids and salts are absorbed and extends from the cecum to the rectum. The last part of the large intestine is the rectum, where feces (waste) is stored before leaving the body through the anus.The main job of the large intestine is to remove water and salts from the undigested material and to form waste able to be excreted.


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The Excretory System:

The Excretory (urinary) system is made-up of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, urethra, and the nephron, which is the kidney's functional unit.

  • Liquid waste is removed from the body through the kidneys, which are located beside the spine in your back within your ribcage. The kidneys are small (about 10 centimeters long) reddish-brown organs that are shaped like beans.During circulation, blood passes through the kidneys in order to get rid of used and unwanted water, minerals, and a nitrogen-rich molecule called urea. The kidneys filter the wastes from the blood, forming urine. The kidneys funnel the urine into the urinary bladder along two separate tubes called ureters. The bladder stores the urine until muscular contractions force the urine out of the body through the urethra. About 1.5 liters of urine is produced from a human's kidneys each day, and all of it needs to be removed from your system, which occurs through urination.

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The Respiratory System:

The respiratory system's job is to supply the blood with oxygen so that the blood can deliver oxygen to all parts of the body, which is done through breathing. When we breathe, we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. This exchange of gases is the respiratory system's way of getting oxygen to the blood.

  • Respiration is achieved through the mouth, nose(nasal cavity), trachea, lungs, and diaphragm. Oxygen enters the respiratory system through the mouth and the nose. The oxygen then passes through the larynx, where speech sounds are produced, and the trachea ( a tube that enters the chest cavity.) The Pharnyx is the part of the throat situated behind the mouth and nasal cavity, and superior to the esophagus and larynx. It is also important in vocalization. In the chest cavity, the trachea splits into two smaller tubes called the bronchi. Each bronchus then divides again forming the bronchial tubes. The bronchial tubes lead directly into the lungs where they divide into many smaller tubes which connect to tiny sacs called alveoli.The inhaled oxygen passes into the alveoli and then diffuses through the capillaries into the arterial blood. Meanwhile, the waste-rich blood from the veins releases its carbon dioxide into the alveoli. The carbon dioxide follows the same path out of the lungs when you exhale.

    The diaphragm's job is to help pump the carbon dioxide out of the lungs and pull the oxygen into the lungs. The diaphragm is a sheet of muscles that lies across the bottom of the chest cavity. As the diaphragm contracts and relaxes, breathing takes place. When the diaphragm contracts, oxygen is pulled into the lungs. When the diaphragm relaxes, carbon dioxide is pumped out of the lungs.

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The Circulatory System:

The Circulatory system is made up of the vessels and the muscles that help and control the flow of the blood around the body. On average, about 5 liters of blood continually travels through your body by way of the circulatory system. The body's circulatory system really has three distinct parts: pulmonary circulation (lungs), coronary circulation (heart), and systemic circulation( the rest of the system).It also delivers immune cells to fight infections and contains platelets that can form a plug in a damaged blood vessel to prevent blood loss. Each part works independently so that they all can work together.
  • At the beginning of circulation, blood leaves the heart from the left ventricle and goes into the aorta, the largest artery in the body. Then leaving the aorta, blood is full of oxygen, by the Hemoglobin( a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen.) This is important for the cells functioning in the brain and the rest of body. The oxygen rich blood travels throughout the body in its system of arteries into the smallest arterioles.On its way back to the heart, the blood travels through a system of veins and capillaries. When it reaches the lungs, the carbon dioxide (a waste product) is removed from the blood and replaced with fresh oxygen that we have inhaled through the lungs.


The Nervous System:

The nervous system is divided into two main systems, the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system. The spinal cord and the brain make up the CNS. Its main job is to get the information from the body and send out instructions. The peripheral nervous system is made up of all of the nerves and the wiring. This system sends the messages from the brain to the rest of the body.
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  • Cerebrum- The main portion of the brain, occupying the front part of the cranial cavity. It has two cerebral hemispheres united by the corpus callosum.It controls and integrates motor, sensory, and higher mental functions, such as thought, reason, emotion, and memory.
  • Cerebellum- The part of the brain at the back of the skull. Its function is to coordinate and regulate muscular activity.
  • Olfactory Bulb- The anterior and slightly enlarged end of the olfactory tract( just above the nasal cavity), from which the cranial nerves concerned with the sense of smell originate.
  • Optic Lobe - Either of two lobes of the dorsal part of the midbrain, containing primary visual centers.
  • Medulla Oblongata- The base of the brain, which is formed by the enlarged top of the spinal cord. The medulla oblongata directly controls breathing, blood flow, and other essential functions.
  • Spinal Cord- The major column of nerve tissue that is connected to the brain and lies within the vertebral canal and from which the spinal nerves emerge. The spinal cord along with the brain, constitute the central nervous system. The spinal cord consists of nerve fibers that transmit impulses to and from the brain.

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The Skeletal System:

The skeleton has 206 bones that support your body and allow you to move. The skeleton also provides protection to vulnerable organs like the Brain, Heart and Lungs. The bones in the skeleton also manufacture blood cells and store useful minerals. The Skeletal System has two parts:
  1. Axial Skeleton
  2. Appendicular Skeleton
Axial Skeleton- The 80 bones of the axial skeleton form the vertical axis of the body, which include the bones of the head, vertebral column, ribs and breastbone or sternum.
Appendicular Skeleton - The appendicular skeleton consists of 126 bones and includes the free appendages and their attachments to the axial skeleton.

  • Joint - where two bones come together. There are three types of joints: immovable (Skull and Pelvis), slightly movable (Inter Vertebral) and freely movable (Hip, Knee and Elbow).
  • Ligament- is a tough band of white, fibrous, slightly elastic tissue. This is an essential part of the skeletal joints; binding the bone ends together to prevent dislocation and excessive movement that might cause breakage. Ligaments also support many internal organs; including the uterus, the bladder, the liver, and the diaphragm and helps in shaping and supporting the breasts.
  • Tendon- is a tough yet flexible band of fibrous tissue. The tendon is the structure in your body that connects the muscle to the bones. The skeletal muscles in your body are responsible for moving your bones, un order to walk, jump, lift, and move in all kinds of ways. When a muscle contracts, it pulls on a bone to cause this movement. The structure that transmits the force of the muscle contraction to the bone is called a tendon.

Muscular System:

The muscle is a contractile form of tissue. It is one of the four major tissue types, the other three being epithelium, connective tissue and nervous tissue. The muscular system and muscle contraction is used to move parts of the body, as well as to move substances within the body.
The muscular system consist of three different types of muscle tissues:
  1. Skeletal
  2. cardiac
  3. smooth
  • Skeletal- is a type of striated muscle, attached to the skeleton. Skeletal muscles are used to facilitate movement, by applying force to bones and joints by contraction.
  • Cardiac- is a type of striated muscle found within the heart. Its function is to "pump" blood through the circulatory system by contracting. Unlike skeletal muscles and smooth muscles, which contract in response to nerve stimulation, cardiac muscle is myogenic, meaning that it stimulates its own contraction.
  • Smooth- is a type of non-striated muscle, found within the "walls" of hollow organs; such as blood vessels, bladder and gastrointestinal tracts, Smooth muscle is used to move matter within the body, through contraction; it generally operates "involuntarily", without nerve stimulation.
There are two types of muscle control in the system:
  1. involuntary muscles( The Heart)
  2. voluntary muscles( arms, legs-where we control the movement)


Anatomy of the Cheetah

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The cheetah is classified as an endangered species. Only 12,000 to 15,000 are believed to remain in about 25 countries.Being a mammal, Cheetah's have pretty much the same organ systems as the human with slight differences. The adult cheetah weighs from 79 to 140 lb. A cheetah's chest is deep and its waist is narrow. The coarse, short fur of the cheetah is tan with round black spots, having some camouflage while hunting. There are no spots on its white underside. The tail has spots, which form 4-6 dark rings at the end, and usually ends in a bushy white tuft. The cheetah has a small head with high-set eyes, and black "tear marks" run from the corner of its eyes down the sides of the nose to its mouth to keep sunlight out of its eyes and to aid in hunting and seeing long distances.No other mammal is as fast as a cheetah, which has a top speed of 90 - 112 kph (60 - 70 mph). However, even though it can reach high speeds, its body cannot stand long distance running- the Cheetah is a sprinter.
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The digestive System

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Cheetahs have the same digestive system. A difference in this area with them is that due to inbreeding, cheetahs have greater susceptibility to diseases such as AA amyloidosis.Other diseases in the group include Alzheimer's and type 2 diabetes in humans as well as the prion (infectious protein) diseases such as scrapie in sheep, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) and chronic wasting disease in deer and elk. In cheetahs amyloid fibrils build up in the spleen and liver, typically following an inflammatory stomach disease.

The Excretory System

Cheetahs have the same excretory system, but don’t need to drink much water, because they get the moisture they need from the bodies of their prey.
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The Respiratory System

The cheetah as the same respiratory system, but also has adaptations that enable the cheetah to run as fast as it does which include large nostrils that allow for increased oxygen intake, and an enlarged heart and lungs that work together to circulate oxygen efficiently. In full stride, a cheetahs breath rate will go from 60 to around 140/150 breaths a minute. The Cheetah's body is also aerodynamic with a relatively small round head, and a narrow body, elongated to fit its large respiratory system( between 112 -135 cm.)
"While running, in addition to having good traction due to its semi-retractable claws, the cheetah uses its tail as a rudder-like means of steering to allow it to make sharp turns, necessary to outflank prey animals that often make such turns to escape.Unlike "true" big cats, the cheetah can purr as it inhales, but cannot roar."
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The Circulatory System

The overall production of circulatory system is the same as a human's, but the muscles around the cheetahs arteries are very muscular so it can pump blood around the body faster. This is important to when a cheetah is running. It runs a real risk of starvings its brain of oxygen so it is important that the oxegen carrying blood gets to the brain quick.

The Nervous System

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The Cheetah's nervous system works the same, but again due to the cheetahs inbreeding in the past their immune system is not great and they are extremly vunerable to disease and many cubs dying of genetic illness, affecting their nervous system.


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A cheetah's small head, deep chest and narrow body make it an excellent sprinter. The head is small, therefore very light. The deep chest makes it able to expand its lungs more and therefore take in more oxegyn during a chase. The slim streamlined body enables it to run very fast very quick. They also have a longer tail than other cats, it works as a balance check when the cheetah is at top speed. The cheetahs spine is also very flexible, allowing it to have a longer stride when running as it can space its legs much further apart than most other cats. The cheetahs small paws also make an effective runner, they are light and easily controlled, compared with the paw of a lion or leopard who hunts in the same territory. The cheetah also has very small teeth compared with other cats, allowing for more oxygen to enter the mouth quickly. There is no end to the skeletal adaptations of the cheetah.
A cheetahs muscles are alot quicker to react to brain signals than to a humans, this enables them to reach their top flight speed in under 30 seconds. It has a very muscular lean body, it does not have alot of muscle but the muscle thats there is all fine tuned to do exactly what it's meant to.
The cheetah's paws have semi-retractable claws (known only in three other cat species: the Fishing Cat, the Flat-headed Cat and the Iriomote Cat) offering extra grip in its high-speed chases. The ligament structure of the cheetah's claws is the same as those of other cats; it simply lacks the sheath of skin and fur present in other varieties, and therefore the claws are always visible, with the exception of the dewclaw. The dewclaw itself is much shorter and straighter than that of other cats


Interesting Cheetah Facts:

  • Female Cheetahs have been known to catch live prey for their cubs to use as hunting practice.
  • Cheetahs were once raced against greyhounds.
  • The Cheetah makes facial expressions, using the bold black lines around its muzzle to signal its mood.external image cheetah325.jpg
  • From a standstill, the cheetah can reach its top speed in about 3 seconds, and can cover almost 33 inches in a single stride.
  • Fastest land mammal on Earth; over short distances it can reach a speed of over 60 mph
  • Cheetah cubs are born with long, grey fur. Some naturalists think that this mimics the ratel, a fierce relative of the badger that few animals dare attack
  • Cheetahs don’t need to drink water, as they get the moisture they need from the bodies of their prey.
  • Cheetahs are the only cats that, while sprinting, can turn in midair to follow their prey.
  • Cheetah cubs have a long mane on their neck and shoulders that disappears as they get older.