Pharynx

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Longitudinal section through the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans showing the position of the pharynx in the animal body.
Microscopic cross section through the pharynx of a larva from an unknown lamprey species.
An illustration of the pharyngeal jaws of a moray eel, a "second set" of jaws contained within an animal's pharynx, distinct from the primary (oral) jaws. When the moray bites prey, it first bites normally with its oral jaws, capturing the prey. Immediately thereafter, the pharyngeal jaws are brought forward and bite down on the prey to grip it; they then retract, pulling the prey down the eel's esophagus, allowing it to be swallowed.

The pharynx is an organ found in animals, including humans. It is part of the digestive system and also the respiratory system. The pharynx is also part of the conducting zone of the respiratory system which is made up of the nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi, bronchioles, and terminal bronchioles; their function is to filter, warm, and moisten air and conduct it into the lungs.

The word pharynx (pronounced /ˈfærɪŋks/[1][2]) is derived from the Greek phárynx, meaning "throat". Its plural form is pharynges /fəˈrɪnz/ or pharynxes /ˈfærɪŋksəz/, and its adjective form is pharyngeal (/ˌfærɪnˈəl/ or /fəˈrɪniəl/).

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  1. ^ OED 2nd edition, 1989.
  2. ^ Entry "pharynx" in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, retrieved 2012-07-28.

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