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Organ Systems in Animals


Animals' bodies are made up of various body systems, groups of organs that work together to perform a function. These body systems (also referred to as organ systems) include:

  • Reproductive system - The reproductive system enables animals to produce offspring.
  • Nervous system - The nervous system enables animals to send, receive, and process nerve and sensory impulses. The nervous system can be broken down into three categories which include the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), the peripheral nervous system (the nerves that branch off of the brain and spinal cord and carry nerve signals to muscles and glands), and the autonomic nervous system (controls involuntary actions such as heartbeat and digestion).
  • Circulatory system - The circulatory system transports blood throughout an animal's body and consists of blood, arteries, veins, and capillaries.
  • Respiratory system - The respiratory system includes an animal's nose, lungs, and trachea. The respiratory system brings air into the animal and releases waste carbon dioxide back into the air.
  • Lymphatic system - The lymphatic system helps to filter out disease-causing organisms and helps to drain fluid waste from in and around tissues. The lymphatic system helps in the defense against infection.
  • Endocrine system - The endocrine system is made up of glands (such as the thyroid, pituitary, parathyroid adrenal, pineal body, pancrease, thymus, ovaries, and testes) and hormones (chemicals released from glands into the bloodstream). These glands and hormones control or influence various body functions (such as metabolism, growth, and reproduction).
  • Urinary system - The urinary system consists of the kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra and enables animals to expel waste fluids in the form of urine.
  • Muscular system - The muscular system enables animals to move and control movement. The muscular system consists of skeletal muscles which help move the skeleton and control movement, smooth muscles which are involuntary and control the stomach and intestine, and cardiac muscles which include the heart muscles.
  • Digestive system - The digestive system enables animals to break down food that they eat and obtain energy for other body processes.
  • Integumentary system - The integumentary system is an animals outer covering (such as skin, scales, feathers, fur, and other body parts that protect the animal and prevent it from drying).
  • Immune system - The immune system protects against infection and disease.
  • Skeletal or support system - The skeletal or support system provides internal or external support (such as a skeleton, exoskeleton or shell).
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