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Mammalia
Mammals () are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class Mammalia (), characterized by the presence of mammary glands which in females produce milk for feeding (nursing) their young, a neocortex (a region of the brain), fur or hair, and three middle ear bones. These characteristics distinguish them from reptiles (including birds) from which they diverged in the Carboniferous, over 300 million years ago. Around 6,400 extant species of mammals have been described divided into 29 orders. The largest orders, in terms of number of species, are the rodents, bats, and Eulipotyphla ( hedgehogs, moles, shrews, and others). The next three are the Primates (including humans, apes, monkeys, and others), the Artiodactyla ( cetaceans and even-toed ungulates), and the Carnivora ( cats, dogs, seals, and others). In terms of cladistics, which reflects evolutionary history, mammals are the only living members of the Synapsida (synapsids); this clade, ...
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Marsupialia
Marsupials are any members of the mammalian infraclass Marsupialia. All extant marsupials are endemic to Australasia, Wallacea and the Americas. A distinctive characteristic common to most of these species is that the young are carried in a pouch. Marsupials include opossums, Tasmanian devils, kangaroos, koalas, wombats, wallabies, bandicoots, and the extinct thylacine. Marsupials represent the clade originating from the last common ancestor of extant metatherians, the group containing all mammals more closely related to marsupials than to placentals. They give birth to relatively undeveloped young that often reside in a pouch located on their mothers' abdomen for a certain amount of time. Close to 70% of the 334 extant species occur on the Australian continent (the mainland, Tasmania, New Guinea and nearby islands). The remaining 30% are found in the Americas—primarily in South America, thirteen in Central America, and one species, the Virginia opossum, in North America, ...
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Platypus
The platypus (''Ornithorhynchus anatinus''), sometimes referred to as the duck-billed platypus, is a semiaquatic, egg-laying mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. The platypus is the sole living representative or monotypic taxon of its family ( Ornithorhynchidae) and genus (''Ornithorhynchus''), though a number of related species appear in the fossil record. Together with the four species of echidna, it is one of the five extant species of monotremes, mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. Like other monotremes, it senses prey through electrolocation. It is one of the few species of venomous mammals, as the male platypus has a spur on the hind foot that delivers a venom, capable of causing severe pain to humans. The unusual appearance of this egg-laying, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal baffled European naturalists when they first encountered it, and the first scientists to examine a preserved platypus ...
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Placentalia
Placental mammals (infraclass Placentalia ) are one of the three extant subdivisions of the class Mammalia, the other two being Monotremata and Marsupialia. Placentalia contains the vast majority of extant mammals, which are partly distinguished from monotremes and marsupials in that the fetus is carried in the uterus of its mother to a relatively late stage of development. The name is something of a misnomer considering that marsupials also nourish their fetuses via a placenta, though for a relatively briefer period, giving birth to less developed young which are then nurtured for a period inside the mother's pouch. Anatomical features Placental mammals are anatomically distinguished from other mammals by: * a sufficiently wide opening at the bottom of the pelvis to allow the birth of a large baby relative to the size of the mother. * the absence of epipubic bones extending forward from the pelvis, which are found in all other mammals. (Their function in non-placental mammals ...
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Common Vampire Bat
The common vampire bat (''Desmodus rotundus'') is a small, leaf-nosed bat native to Latin America. It is one of three extant species of vampire bat, the other two being the hairy-legged and the white-winged vampire bats. The common vampire bat practices hematophagy, mainly feeding on the blood of livestock. The bat usually approaches its prey at night while they are sleeping. It then uses its razor-sharp teeth to cut open the skin of its hosts and lap up their blood with its long tongue. The species is highly polygynous, and dominant adult males defend groups of females. It is one of the most social of bat species with a number of cooperative behaviors such as social grooming and food sharing. Because it feeds on livestock and is a carrier of rabies, the common vampire bat is considered a pest. Its conservation status is categorized as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) because of "its wide distribution, presumed large population tolera ...
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Fox Squirrel
The fox squirrel (''Sciurus niger''), also known as the eastern fox squirrel or Bryant's fox squirrel, is the largest species of tree squirrel native to North America. Despite the differences in size and coloration, it is sometimes mistaken for American red squirrels or eastern gray squirrels in areas where the species co-exist. Description The squirrel's total length measures , with a body length of and a similar tail length. They range in weight from . There is no sexual dimorphism in size or appearance. Individuals tend to be smaller in the west. There are three distinct geographical phases in coloration: In most areas the animal's upper body is brown-grey to brown-yellow with a typically brownish-orange underside, while in eastern regions such as the Appalachians there are more strikingly-patterned dark brown and black squirrels with white bands on the face and tail. In the south are isolated communities with uniform black coats. To help with climbing, the squirrels have sh ...
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Female
Female ( symbol: ♀) is the sex of an organism that produces the large non-motile ova (egg cells), the type of gamete (sex cell) that fuses with the male gamete during sexual reproduction. A female has larger gametes than a male. Females and males are results of the anisogamous reproduction system, wherein gametes are of different sizes, unlike isogamy where they are the same size. The exact mechanism of female gamete evolution remains unknown. In species that have males and females, sex-determination may be based on either sex chromosomes, or environmental conditions. Most female mammals, including female humans, have two X chromosomes. Female characteristics vary between different species with some species having pronounced secondary female sex characteristics, such as the presence of pronounced mammary glands in mammals. In humans, the word ''female'' can also be used to refer to gender in the social sense of gender role or gender identity. Etymology ...
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Theria
Theria (; Greek: , wild beast) is a subclass of mammals amongst the Theriiformes. Theria includes the eutherians (including the placental mammals) and the metatherians (including the marsupials) but excludes the egg-laying monotremes. Characteristics Therian mammals give birth (''see viviparity'') to live young without a shelled egg. This is possible thanks to key proteins called syncytins which allow exchanges between the mother and its offspring through a placenta, even rudimental ones such as in marsupials. Genetic studies have suggested a viral origin of syncytins through the endogenization process. The marsupials and the placental mammals evolved from a common therian ancestor that gave live birth by suppressing the mother's immune system. While the marsupials continued to give birth to an underdeveloped fetus after a short pregnancy, the ancestors of placental mammals gradually evolved a prolonged pregnancy. Therian mammals no longer have the coracoid bone ...
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Carl Linnaeus
Carl Linnaeus (; 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his ennoblement in 1761 as Carl von Linné Blunt (2004), p. 171. (), was a Swedish botanist, zoologist, taxonomist, and physician who formalised binomial nomenclature, the modern system of naming organisms. He is known as the "father of modern taxonomy". Many of his writings were in Latin; his name is rendered in Latin as and, after his 1761 ennoblement, as . Linnaeus was born in Råshult, the countryside of Småland, in southern Sweden. He received most of his higher education at Uppsala University and began giving lectures in botany there in 1730. He lived abroad between 1735 and 1738, where he studied and also published the first edition of his ' in the Netherlands. He then returned to Sweden where he became professor of medicine and botany at Uppsala. In the 1740s, he was sent on several journeys through Sweden to find and classify plants and animals. In the 1750s and 1760s, he continued to co ...
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Hair
Hair is a protein filament that grows from follicles found in the dermis. Hair is one of the defining characteristics of mammals. The human body, apart from areas of glabrous skin, is covered in follicles which produce thick terminal and fine vellus hair. Most common interest in hair is focused on hair growth, hair types, and hair care, but hair is also an important biomaterial primarily composed of protein, notably alpha-keratin. Attitudes towards different forms of hair, such as hairstyles and hair removal, vary widely across different cultures and historical periods, but it is often used to indicate a person's personal beliefs or social position, such as their age, sex, or religion. Overview The word "hair" usually refers to two distinct structures: #the part beneath the skin, called the hair follicle, or, when pulled from the skin, the bulb or root. This organ is located in the dermis and maintains stem cells, which not only re-grow the hair after it falls out, bu ...
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Tree Pangolin
The tree pangolin (''Phataginus tricuspis'') is one of eight extant species of pangolins ("scaly anteaters"), and is native to equatorial Africa. Also known as the white-bellied pangolin or three-cusped pangolin, it is the most common of the African forest pangolins. Description ''Phataginus tricuspis'' is a relatively small pangolin. The combined head and body length is . The tail is . Each dark brown to brownish yellow scale has three points, to which the specific name ''tricuspis'' refers. These scales cover the whole body besides the face, underbelly, and insides of the legs. The scales are made of keratin, as are human fingernails, and are anchored at the base to the pangolin's skin. The head is small, and the snout is elongated. The feet are short, and each foot has five long curved claws. Taxonomy The tree pangolin had belonged to the genus '' Manis'' and subgenus ''Phataginus'' before ''Phataginus'' was elevated to generic status. Two subspecies were recognized i ...
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Plains Zebra
The plains zebra (''Equus quagga'', formerly ''Equus burchellii''), also known as the common zebra, is the most common and geographically widespread species of zebra. Its range is fragmented, but spans much of southern and eastern Africa south of the Sahara. Six or seven subspecies have been recognised, including the extinct quagga which was thought to be a separate species. More recent research supports variations in zebra populations being clines rather than subspecies. The plains zebra is intermediate in size between the larger Grévy's zebra and the smaller mountain zebra and tends to have broader stripes than both. Great variation in coat patterns exists between clines and individuals. The plain zebra's habitat is generally, but not exclusively, treeless grasslands and savanna woodlands, both tropical and temperate. They generally avoid desert, dense rainforest and permanent wetlands. Zebras are preyed upon by lions and spotted hyenas, Nile crocodiles and, to a lesser exte ...
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Northern Elephant Seal
The northern elephant seal (''Mirounga angustirostris'') is one of two species of elephant seal (the other is the southern elephant seal). It is a member of the family Phocidae (true seals). Elephant seals derive their name from their great size and from the male's large proboscis, which is used in making extraordinarily loud roaring noises, especially during the mating competition. Sexual dimorphism in size is great. Correspondingly, the mating system is highly polygynous; a successful male is able to impregnate up to 50 females in one season. Description The huge male northern elephant seal typically weighs and measures , although some males can weigh up to . Females are much smaller and can range from in weight, or roughly a third of the male's bulk, and measure from . The bull southern elephant seals are, on average, larger than those in the northern species, but the females in both are around the same size, indicating the even higher level of sexual dimorphism in the sou ...
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