Monday, May 15, 2006


There are twenty Orders which are found in placental mammals. These include “Carnivora, Chiroptera, Perissodactyla, Artiodactyla, Primates, Insectivora, Proboscidea, Sirenia, Logomorpha, Macroscelidea, Dermoptera, Tubelidentata, Hyracoidean, Pilosa, Scandentia, Xenarthra, Rodentia, Pholidata, Afrosoricida and Cetacea”(4). These orders have characteristics which identifies them from each other.

Animals that are found in order Carnivora include dogs, cats, lion, skunk, walrus, and sea lion (1). “Animals of the order carnivora have sharp claws and long cone- like (5).” “Some teeth are sharp and they act like scissor blades. They have furry or hairy coat. The main feature of the head is squarish snout. Their eyes are small and ears are internal”. (4).

Chiroptera had long slender fingers covered by sheet leathery skin. The skins were connected to their sides, legs and tails to make a wing. The example for Chiroptera was bats. Bats had modified forelimbs which support wing membrane. "Bats had most elongated parts of the limb are those of hands (metacarpal bones) and fingers" (4). “Bats have five unique muscles present in the patagium and use addition muscle which is found in the chest and back to move the wings up and down. The limbs of hind are unique”(5).

Animals that belong to this order “Artiodactyls include cow, sheep, pig, giraffe and hippopotamus. This is the order of even toed hoofed animals that have only two toes on which they stands. Standing on two toes provides better control than on a flat foot. Lagomorpha is the order which have animals such as hare, pikas, cotton rabbit and jack rabbit. They have two pair upper incisors and they do not have canine teeth and molars do have roots” (1).

Order Dermoptera consists of flying lemurs or culugos. “The lower incisors are comb-like teeth with twenty prongs per tooth” (3). “Animals that belong to order Xenarthra include sloths, armadillos and anteaters. These animals have backbone that provide extra strength and support when they are burrowing. They have a unique glup todont.” (1).

Hyracoidea is the order of animals that have short necks and round head. The example of Hyracoidean is hyraxes. “They have three toes on their hinds and five of the feet. They haves hooves in their first and the third toe” (1). “The animals that are found in order Scandentia include tree shrews and elephant shrew. They have long tails, a pointed nose as well as the sharp curve” (2). “The examples of animals that are found in Order Sirenia are manatees and dugongs. Scandentians have flippers for front limbs and a flat tail. They have thick bristles on their lips” (1).

Order Rodentia include animals such as “mice, squirrels, chipmunks, rats, voles and beaver. Rodents are small animals that gnaw. Both the upper and lower jaw consists of sharp incisors. Proboscidea is the Order which have animals of great size. They have upper incisors that are tusk, upper lip form proboscis, thick skin, scants hair. The example of Proboscidea includes elephant. They are animals of great size, nose and upper lip form proboscis” (2).

Animals that are found in Pilosa are sloths and armadillos. “They have large claws which are used for digging. Order Primates include monkeys, humans, lemurs and marmosets. Animals of this Order have opposable thumbs, Flat nails on their toes and fingers. In front of their face, they have forward-facing eyes” (1).

“Order insectivores include shrews, moles and hedge dog. They are small animals that use hearing and smell more sight to find prey” (1). “Perissodactyla is small order of herbivores which is comprised of species such as horse, zebra, donkeys, tapirs and rhinoceros. They have odd toes, hoofed form and lack gall bladder” (2).

The animals that belong to order Cetacea include whales, dolphins and porpoises. "Cetacea have bodies that are adapted for water but they are still air- breathing mammals that sticks their nostrils on the water every once in a while or they will drown" (4). "Cetacea have torpedo-shaped bodies, forelimbs that have been modified flippers and tails that are flattened side to side to become flukes" (1).


1. NHPTV.Mammals. [Internet] Nature works; 2006 May 24, 11:04 UTC [Cited 2006 May 26]. Available from:

2.Class Mammalian. [Internet] May 24, 11:04 UTC [Cited 2006 May 26].Science Available from:

3. Theodore R. Animal Skulls. [Internet]; 2006 May 24, 11:04 UTC [Cited 2006 May 26]. Available from:

4. Wikepedia Contributors. List of Placental mammals, The free Encyclopadia [Internet] 2006 May 19, 08:30 Available:

5. Wikepedia Contributors. Placental mammals, The free Encyclopedia [Internet] 2006 May 19, 08:30 UTC [Cited 2006 May 08] Available from:

6. Wund, M. and P. Myers. 2005. Mammalia [Internet]. 2006 May 19, 12:17 UTC [Cited 2006 May 08] Available from:

Masiya Kedibone
CSIR Pretoria
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  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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