What is the difference between herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores?
Food and dietary patterns are one of the ways used to group animals. With that in consideration, three groups of animals evolve. That is herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores.
The main difference among the three groups of animals is that herbivores are the animals that rely on plant matter alone, carnivores rely on meat alone while omnivores are animals that rely on both meat and plant matter.
You May Also Like: Difference between Cold-Blooded and Warm-Blooded Animals
Comparison Table (Herbivores vs Carnivores vs Omnivores)
|Refer to animals that only rely on plant matter.||Refer to animals that only rely on meat.||Refer to animals that rely on both meat and plant matter.|
|Have complex facial muscles.||Have reduced facial muscles.||Have reduced facial muscles.|
|The jaw is above the plane of the molars.||The jaw is on the same plane as molars.||The jaw is on the same plane as molars.|
|They have masseter and pterygoids.||They have temporalis.||They have temporalis.|
|Mouth to head ratio is small.||Mouth to head ratio is large.||Mouth to head ratio is large.|
|They have broad, flat, spade-shaped incisors.||They have short pointed incisors.||They have short pointed incisors.|
|They have dulled short or long canines.||They have extremely sharp, long, and curved canines.||They have sharp, long, and curved canines.|
|They have flat molars with cusps.||They have long, sharp, and curved molars.||They have long, sharp, and curved molars.|
|They have a very high chewing capacity.||They do not chew.||They do not chew but may use simple crushing.|
|It is moderately concentrated.||It is extremely concentrated.||It is extremely concentrated.|
|It is long and complex.||It is simple, short, and smooth.||It is simple short and smooth.|
|They have extremely longer intestines; 10-12 times the body length.||It is 3-6 times body length.||It is 4-6 times body length.|
|Their stomach is simple with multiple chambers.||They have a simple stomach with one chamber.||They have a simple stomach with one chamber.|
|They can detoxify vitamin A.||They cannot detoxify vitamin A.||They cannot detoxify vitamin A.|
|They have flat nails or modified into hooves.||They are modified into sharp claws.||They are modified into sharp claws.|
|They include; giraffe, goat, cow, deer.||They include; lion, tiger, hyena, and leopard.||They include; humans, bears, and dogs.|
What are Herbivores?
Herbivores are kind of animals that entirely rely on plant matter. They are considered as primary members of the food chain. They have broad, flat, spade-shaped incisors, dull, short canines, and molars with cusps.
Incisors and canines are used to pick plant matter while molars are used for grinding. They have the extensive chewing ability in order to chew the plant matter. They have carbohydrates digestive enzymes in saliva
Their stomachs have either one or multiple chambers and this improves the digestion of plant matter. The small intestine is long and helps to improve the absorption of food nutrients.
You May Also Like: Difference between Vertebrates and Invertebrates
What are Carnivores?
Carnivores are animals that entirely depend on meat for survival. They have various adaptations that enable them to run after their prey and tear the flesh from the prey. They have large canines with extremely sharp edges that are designed for stabbing and tearing the flesh from the prey.
Their incisor has short pointed ridges and their molars have jagged edges to enable them to grasp and shred flesh. They do not have any digestive enzymes like the herbivores. Their nails are modified into sharp claws.
What are Omnivores?
These are animals that mainly rely on both meat and plant matter for survival. They have a fairly mixed dentine formula. They have short pointed incisors, long, sharp, curved canines, and molars with flat blades. Many features are much similar to the ones possessed by the carnivores.
Main Differences between Herbivores, Carnivores, and Omnivores
- Herbivores are animals that rely on plant matter, carnivores rely on meat while omnivores rely on both meat and plant matter.
- Herbivores have complex facial muscles while carnivores and omnivores have reduced facial muscles.
- Herbivores have one or more stomach chambers while carnivores and omnivores only have one stomach chamber.
- Herbivores have broad, flat spade-shaped incisors while carnivores and omnivores have short-pointed incisors.
- Herbivores have flat molars with cusps while carnivores and omnivores have long, sharp and curved molars.
- Herbivores have extremely longer intestines as compared to carnivores and omnivores.
- Herbivores have long and complex colon while carnivores and omnivores have a short and simple colon.
Similarities between Herbivores, Carnivores, and Omnivores
- They are all classification of animals depending on what they feed on.
- They both have incisors, canines, and molar teeth.
- They both have a stomach.
You May Also Like: Difference between Chordates and Non-Chordates
Herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores are classes of animals that result from food and dietary patterns. Herbivores are animals that entirely depend on plants for survival, carnivores are animals that depend on meat for survival while omnivores depend on both meat and plant matter for survival. The main feature that makes these animals different is diet.
More sources and references: