Last updated: 20/01/2017 [Design & Pictures by Simons Nature]

Mammalia [Mammals]

Mammals are any vertebrates within the class Mammalia (/məˈmeɪli.ə/ from Latin mamma "breast"), a clade of endothermic amniotes distinguished from reptiles and birds by the possession of a neocortex (a region of the brain), hair, three middle ear bones and mammary glands. The sister group of mammals may be the extinct Haldanodon. The mammals represent the only living Synapsida, which together with the Sauropsida form the Amniota clade. The mammals consist of the Yinotheria including monotrema and the Theriiformes including the theria. Mammals include the largest animals on the planet, the great whales, as well as some of the most intelligent, such as elephants, primates and cetaceans.
The even-toed ungulates (order Artiodactyla, from Greek ἄρτιος (ártios), meaning "even", and δάκτυλος (dáktylos), meaning "finger/toe") are ungulates (hoofed animals) whose weight is borne equally by the third and fourth toes. By contrast, odd-toed ungulates, such as horses, bear their weight primarily on their third toe. The aquatic Cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) evolved from even-toed ungulate ancestors, and therefore modern taxonomic classification combines Artiodactyla and Cetacea into Cetartiodactyla.
Carnivora (/kɑːrˈnɪvərə/; from Latin carō (stem carn-) "flesh" and vorāre "to devour") is a diverse order that includes over 280 species of placental mammals. Its members are formally referred to as carnivorans, whereas the word "carnivore" (often popularly applied to members of this group) can refer to any meat-eating organism.
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera (/kaɪˈrɒptərə/; from the Ancient Greek: χείρ - cheir, "hand" and Ancient Greek: πτερόν - pteron, "wing") whose forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums, and colugos, can only glide for short distances.
Hyraxes (from the Greek ὕραξ, hurax, "shrewmouse"), also called dassies, are small, thickset, herbivorous mammals in the order Hyracoidea. Hyraxes are well-furred, rotund animals with short tails. Typically, they measure between 30 and 70 cm (12 and 28 in) long and weigh between 2 and 5 kg (4.4 and 11 lb). They are superficially similar to pikas or rodents (especially marmots), but are more closely related to elephants and manatees.
The lagomorphs are the members of the taxonomic order Lagomorpha, of which there are two living families: the Leporidae (hares and rabbits) and the Ochotonidae (pikas). The name of the order is derived from the Ancient Greek lagos (λαγώς, "hare") +morphē (μορφή, "form").
Members of the order Perissodactyla, otherwise known as odd-toed ungulates, are mammals characterized by an odd number of toes and by hindgut fermentation with somewhat simple stomachs. Unlike the even-toed ungulates, they digest plant cellulose in their intestines rather than in one or more stomach chambers. The order includes three extant families: Equidae (horses, donkeys, and zebras), Rhinocerotidae (rhinos) and Tapiridae (tapirs), with a total of about 17 species.
The order Pilosa is a group of placental mammals, extant today only in the Americas. It includes the anteaters and sloths, including the extinct ground sloths, which became extinct about 10,000 years ago. The name comes from the Latin word for 'hairy'.
A primate (i/ˈpraɪmeɪt/ PRY-mayt) is a mammal of the order Primates (Latin: "prime, first rank"). In taxonomy, primates include two distinct lineages, strepsirrhines and haplorhines. Primates arose from ancestors that lived in the trees of tropical forests; many primate characteristics represent adaptations to life in this challenging three-dimensional environment.
The Proboscidea (from the Greek προβοσκίς and the Latin proboscis) are a taxonomic order of afrotherian mammals containing one living family, Elephantidae, and several extinct families. This order, first described by J. Illiger in 1811, encompasses the trunked mammals.
Rodents (from Latin rodere, "to gnaw") are mammals of the order Rodentia, which are characterized by a single pair of continuously growing incisors in each of the upper and lower jaws. About 40% of all mammal species are rodents; they are found in vast numbers on all continents except Antarctica.
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