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from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Esophagus

The esophagus (also spelled oesophagus/œsophagus), or gullet is an organ in vertebrates which consists of a muscular tube through which food passes from the mouth area to the stomach.

The esophagus is continuous with the laryngeal part of the pharynx at the level of the C6 vertebra.

Food is passed through the esophagus by using the process of peristalsis.

Specifically, in mammals, it connects the pharynx, which is the body cavity that is common to the digestive system and respiratory system behind the mouth (buccal cavity), with the stomach, where the second stage of digestion is initiated (the first stage of digestion is in the mouth, with teeth and tongue masticating food and mixing it with saliva).

The esophagus is lined with mucous membrane, and is more deeply lined with muscle that acts with peristaltic action to move swallowed food down to the stomach.

Note: This article excerpts material from the Wikipedia article "Esophagus", which is released under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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