Ballard, William W. Department of Biological Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire.
Last reviewed:January 2019
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A section of the alimentary canal that is interposed between the pharynx and stomach of vertebrates. The esophagus (see illustration), also known as the gullet, is a hollow muscular tube of the vertebrate alimentary canal (digestive tract). It connects the pharynx to the stomach and allows the passage of ingested food via peristaltic contractions. Because of divergent specializations in the various vertebrates, the esophagus cannot be described in general terms and is not always distinguishable. See also: Digestive system; Muscle; Pharynx; Stomach; Vertebrata
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