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BIOLOGY
Asked by James

What are dimensions of the small intestine? What are reasons to explain why the small intestine is so long, compared to the large intestine?

The small intestine is around 6-7m long and 2.5-3cm in diameter. It is so long compared to the large intestine to allow it to absorb nutrients and digest food. In addition to this, it is covered in small finger like protrusions called villi to increase its surface area and this increases the absorption ability of the small intestine. This increased surface area is required to absorb nutrients and digest. The large intestine on the other hand mainly reabsorbs water and compacts food waste. This does not require the same amount of surface area to achieve, hence why it is shorter.

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Rachael Wood
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