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Exploring Nature Science Education Resource:

Life Science, Earth Science, and Physical Science Resources for K-12

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The Large Intestine

The Large Intestine

Organs

The large intestine is about 4.5 feet long (1.5m) and wider than the small intestine. It is made up of the cecum, appendix, colon, rectum and anal canal. Food waste passes from the small intestine (ileum) into the cecum, then up the ascending colon, across the transverse colon, down the descending colon, through the sigmoid colon and into the rectum, where it is passed from the body through the anal canal.

Function

The large intestine absorbs any left over water, vitamins and electrolytes (like sodium and chloride) in the food waste passing through it. The appendix does have some tissue that might help the immune system (lymphoid), but its tiny, twisted shape also traps bacteria, so often leads to serious inflammation, that can lead to death if not removed (appendicitis).

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