An organism classification is a set of living things, (e.g., plants, animals, microorganisms), that has a classification rank, (e.g., Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species). All classifications, from the lowest classification (sub-species, cultivars, breeds and varietals) up to the highest classification (Domain), are organism classifications.
The organism classification type should not be used for an individual organism, such as household pets, animal performers, racehorses, even named plants. Use the organism type for that.
For more information, please see the Freebase wiki page on organism classification.
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The King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) is the second largest species of penguin at about 11 to 16 kg (24 to 35 lb), second only to the Emperor Penguin. There are two subspecies—A. p. patagonicus and A. p. halli; patagonicus is found in the South Atlantic and halli elsewhere.
King Penguins eat small fish, mainly lanternfish, and squid and rely less than most Southern Ocean predators on krill and other crustaceans. On foraging trips they repeatedly dive to over 100 metres (330 ft), and have been recorded at depths greater than 300 metres (980 ft).
King Penguins breed on the subantarctic islands at the northern reaches of Antarctica, South Georgia, and other temperate islands of the region. The total population is estimated to be 2.23 million pairs and is increasing.
The King Penguin was described in 1778 by English naturalist and illustrator John Frederick Miller, its generic name derived from the Ancient Greek a/α 'without' pteno-/πτηνο- 'able to fly' or 'winged' and dytes/δυτης 'diver'. Its specific epithet patagonicus derived from Patagonia.
Together with the similarly coloured but larger Emperor Penguin (A. forsteri), it is one of two extant species in the genus Aptenodytes.
The alveolates ("with cavities") are a major line of protists.
There are four phyla, which are very divergent in form, but are now known to be close relatives based on various ultrastructural and genetic similarities:
The genus Perkinsus may belong to another clade - Perkinsozoa - based on a number of molecular biological findings.
The most notable shared characteristic is the presence of cortical alveoli, flattened vesicles packed into a continuous layer supporting the membrane, typically forming a flexible pellicle. In dinoflagellates they often form armor plates. Alveolates have mitochondria with tubular cristae and their flagella or cilia have a distinct structure.
The ancestors of this group appear to have been photosynthetic.
Almost all sequenced mitochondrial genomes of ciliates and apicomplexia are linear. The mitochondrial genome of Babesia microti is circular. This species is also now known not to belong to either of the genera Babesia or Theileria and a new genus will have to be created to for it.
The Apicomplexa and dinoflagellates may be more closely related to each other than to the ciliates. Both have plastids, and most share a bundle or cone of microtubules at the
Apes are Old World anthropoid mammals, more specifically a clade of tailless catarrhine primates, belonging to the biological superfamily Hominoidea. The apes are native to Africa and South-east Asia. Apes are the largest primates and the orangutan, an ape, is the largest living arboreal animal. Hominoids are traditionally forest dwellers, although chimpanzees may range into savanna, and the extinct australopithecines were likely also savanna inhabitants, inferred from their morphology. Humans inhabit almost every terrestrial habitat.
Hominoidea contains two families of living (extant) species:
Members of the superfamily are called hominoids (not to be confused with "hominids" or "hominins").
Some or all hominoids are also called "apes". However, the term "ape" is used in several different senses. It has been used as a synonym for "monkey" or for any tailless primate with a humanlike appearance. Thus the Barbary macaque, a kind of monkey, is popularly called the "Barbary ape" to indicate its lack of a tail. Biologists have used the term "ape" to mean a member of the superfamily Hominoidea other than humans, or more recently to mean all members of the superfamily Hominoidea, so that
Subclass Coleoidea, or Dibranchiata, is the grouping of cephalopods containing all the primarily soft-bodied creatures. Unlike its sister group Nautiloidea, whose members have a rigid outer shell for protection, the coleoids have at most an internal bone or shell that is used for buoyancy or support. Some species have lost their bone altogether, while in some it has been replaced by a cartilaginous support structure.
The major dividings of Coleoidea are based upon the number of arms or tentacles and their structure. The extinct and most primitive form, the Belemnoidea, presumably had ten equally sized arms, in five pairs numbered dorsal to ventral as I, II, III, IV and V. More modern species either modified or lost a pair of arms. The superorder Decapodiformes has arm pair IV modified into long tentacles with suckers generally only on the club-shaped distal end. Superorder Octopodiformes has modifications to arm pair II; it is significantly reduced and used only as a sensory filament in the Vampyromorphida, while Octopoda species have totally lost that arm pair.
The earliest certain coleoids are known from the Mississippian sub-period of the Carboniferous Period, about 330 million
Barbara Brown's titi (Callicebus barbarabrownae) is a species of titi, a type of New World monkey. This critically endangered species is endemic to the Caatinga in northeastern Brazil, and it is estimated that less than 250 mature individuals remain.
The blonde titi monkey is listed as Critically Endangered due to small population size. The blond titi monkey is endemic to the Atlantic forests of eastern Brazil, where it is found in the coastal highlands of Bahia and Sergipe States. Most of their population is found between the Paraguaçu River (north) and Salvador (south), and west towards Mirorós. The estimated population is 260 individuals and is decreasing.
The blond titi prefers habitats in caatinga a dry scrubland with preferences for dense arboreal caatinga. They do tend to be largely arboreal forest dwellers, and the blond titi monkey probably rarely descends to the ground. They are small in size and are agile primates, they are good climbers through the branches on all four limbs, using their rear limbs to jump long distances, grasping onto branches with leading forehands. While resting, they hunch their body, hanging the tail over a branch. .
The titi monkeys are most
Ungulates (pronounced /ˈʌŋɡjʊleɪts/) are several groups of mammals, most of which use the tips of their toes, usually hoofed, to sustain their whole body weight while moving. The term means, roughly, "being hoofed" or "hoofed animal". They make up several orders of mammals, of which six to eight survive. Commonly known examples of ungulates living today are the horse, zebra, donkey, cattle/bison, rhinoceros, camel, hippopotamus, tapir, goat, pig, sheep, giraffe, okapi, moose, elk, deer, antelope, and gazelle.
There is some dispute as to whether Ungulata is a cladistic (evolution-based) group, or merely a phenetic group (form taxon) or folk taxon (similar, but not necessarily related), because not all ungulates appear as closely related as once believed. Ungulata was formerly considered an order which has since been split into:
As a descriptive term, "ungulate" normally excludes cetaceans, which are now known to share a common ancestor with Artiodactyla and form the clade Cetartiodactyla with them. Members of the orders Perissodactyla and Artiodactyla are called the 'true ungulates' to distinguish them from 'subungulates' (Paenungulata) which include members from the afrotherian
Monera (/məˈnɪərə/ mə-NEER-ə) is a kingdom that contains unicellular organisms without a nucleus (i.e., a prokaryotic cell organization), such as bacteria. The kingdom is considered superseded.
The taxon Monera was first proposed as a phylum by Ernst Haeckel in 1866. Subsequently, the taxon was raised to the rank of kingdom in 1925 by Édouard Chatton. The last commonly accepted mega-classification with the taxon Monera was the five-kingdom classification system established by Robert Whittaker in 1969.
Under the three-domain system of taxonomy, which was established in 1990 and reflects the evolutionary history of life as currently understood, the organisms found in kingdom Monera have been divided into two domains, Archaea and Bacteria (with Eukarya as the third domain). Furthermore the taxon Monera is paraphyletic. The term "moneran" is the informal name of members of this group and is still sometimes used (as is the term "prokaryote") to denote a member of either domain.
Despite the fact that most bacteria were classified under Monera, the bacterial phylum Cyanobacteria (the blue-green algae) was not initially classified under Monera, but under Plantae because of the ability of
The jaguar ( /ˈdʒæɡwɑr/ or UK /ˈdʒæɡjuː.ər/; Panthera onca) is a big cat, a feline in the Panthera genus, and is the only Panthera species found in the Americas. The jaguar is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion, and the largest in the Western Hemisphere. The jaguar's present range extends from Southern United States and Mexico across much of Central America and south to Paraguay and northern Argentina. Apart from a known and possibly breeding population in Arizona (southeast of Tucson), the cat has largely been extirpated from the United States since the early 20th century.
This spotted cat most closely resembles the leopard physically, although it is usually larger and of sturdier build and its behavioural and habitat characteristics are closer to those of the tiger. While dense rainforest is its preferred habitat, the jaguar will range across a variety of forested and open terrains. It is strongly associated with the presence of water and is notable, along with the tiger, as a feline that enjoys swimming. The jaguar is largely a solitary, opportunistic, stalk-and-ambush predator at the top of the food chain (an apex predator). It is a keystone species, playing
The Endopterygota, also known as Holometabola, are insects of the subclass Pterygota which go through distinctive larval, pupal, and adult stages. They undergo a radical metamorphosis, with the larval and adult stages differing considerably in their structure and behaviour. This is called holometabolism, or complete metamorphism.
The Endopterygota are among the most diverse insect superorders, with approximately 850,000 living species divided between eleven orders, containing insects such as butterflies, flies, fleas, bees, ants and beetles.
They are distinguished from the Exopterygota (or Hemipterodea) by the way in which their wings develop. Endopterygota (meaning literally "internal winged forms") develop wings inside the body and undergo an elaborate metamorphosis involving a pupal stage. Exopterygota ("external winged forms") develop wings on the outside of their bodies and do not go through a pupal stage. The latter trait is plesiomorphic however and not exclusively found in the exopterygotes, but also in groups such as Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) which are not Neoptera but more basal among insects.
The earliest endopterygote fossils date from the
The Plasmodiidae are a family of apicomplexan parasites, including the type genus Plasmodium, which is responsible for malaria. This genus was created in 1903 by Mesnil. They are one of the four families in the order Haemospororida.
The diagnostic criteria of the Plasmodiidae are:
The order has four families: the Garniidae, the Haemoproteidae, the Leucocytozoidae and the Plasmodiidae.
The Haemoproteidae and the Plasmodiidae both produce pigment and these have been placed in the order Laveraniina.
Neither the Haemoproteidae or the Leucocytozoidae have an asexual cycle in the peripheral blood.
The Garniidae do not produce pigment but do have an asexual cycle in the blood.
Plasmodiidae contains the following genera:
The genus Mesnilium is the only taxon that infects fish. The genus has a single species and has been reported only once. It may be that this genus has been mistakenly placed in this genus. DNA studies are likely to be needed to clarify this point.
Sapindales ( /sæpɨnˈdeɪliːz/) is a botanical name for an order of flowering plants. Well-known members of Sapindales include citrus; maples, horse-chestnuts, lychees and rambutans; mangos and cashews; frankincense and myrrh; mahogany and neem.
The APG II system of 2003 includes it in the clade eurosids II (in rosids, in eudicots) including the following 9 families:
(with "+ ..." = optional segregate of the preceding family)
The Cronquist system of 1981 used a somewhat different circumscription, including the following families:
The difference from the APG II system is not as large as may appear, as the plants in the families Aceraceae and Hippocastanaceae stay in this order at APG II (both included in family Sapindaceae). The species now composing the family Nitrariaceae in APG II also belonged to this order in the Cronquist system as part of the family Zygophyllaceae, while those now in the family Kirkiaceae were present as part of the family Simaroubaceae.
The arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus, formerly known as Alopex lagopus), also known as the white fox, polar fox or snow fox, is a small fox native to Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and is common throughout the Arctic tundra biome. Lagopus is derived from Ancient Greek lago (λαγως), meaning "hare", + pous (πους), "foot" and refers to the hair on its feet. Although it has previously been assigned to its own genus Alopex, genetic evidence places it in Vulpes (Mammal Species of the World) with the majority of the other foxes.
The arctic fox lives in some of the most frigid extremes on the planet. Among its adaptations for cold survival are its deep, thick fur, a system of countercurrent heat exchange in the circulation of paws to retain core temperature, and a good supply of body fat. The fox has a low surface area to volume ratio, as evidenced by its generally rounded body shape, short muzzle and legs, and short, thick ears. Since less of its surface area is exposed to the arctic cold, less heat escapes the body. Its furry paws allow it to walk on ice in search of food. The arctic fox has such keen hearing that it can precisely locate the position of prey under the snow. When it
"E. coli" redirects here. For the protozoan parasite, see Entamoeba coli.
Escherichia coli ( /ˌɛʃɨˈrɪkiə ˈkoʊlaɪ/; commonly abbreviated E. coli) is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms (endotherms). Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some serotypes can cause serious food poisoning in humans, and are occasionally responsible for product recalls due to food contamination. The harmless strains are part of the normal flora of the gut, and can benefit their hosts by producing vitamin K2, and by preventing the establishment of pathogenic bacteria within the intestine.
E. coli and related bacteria constitute about 0.1% of gut flora, and fecal-oral transmission is the major route through which pathogenic strains of the bacterium cause disease. Cells are able to survive outside the body for a limited amount of time, which makes them ideal indicator organisms to test environmental samples for fecal contamination. There is, however, a growing body of research that has examined environmentally persistent E. coli which can survive for extended periods of time outside of the host.
The bacterium can also be grown easily
The straight-tusked elephant (Elephas (Palaeoloxodon) antiquus or Palaeoloxodon antiquus) is an extinct species of elephant closely related to the living Asian elephant. It inhabited Europe during the Middle and Late Pleistocene (781,000–50,000 years before present). Some experts regard the smaller Asian species E. namadicus, as a variant or subspecies.
The creature was 3.9 metres (13 ft) tall, weighting about 6,000–7,000 kg (13,000–15,000 lb), and had long, slightly upward-curving tusks. E. antiquus's legs were slightly longer than those of modern elephants. It is suggested that this elephant had a 80 cm long tongue that could be projected a short distance from the mouth to grasp leaves and grasses. With this tongue along with a flexible trunk, straight-tusked elephants could graze or browse on Pleistocene foliage about 8 meters above ground.
Straight-tusked elephants lived in small herds of about 5 to 15 individuals. They preferred warm conditions and flourished in the interglacial periods during the current Ice Age, spreading from continental Europe to Great Britain during the warmer periods. It is assumed that they preferred wooded environments. During colder periods the
The culpeo (Lycalopex culpaeus), sometimes known as the culpeo zorro or Andean fox (wolf), is a South American species of wild dog. It is the second largest native canid on the continent, after the maned wolf. In its appearance it bears many similarities to the widely recognized red fox. It has grey and reddish fur, a white chin, reddish legs, and a stripe on its back that may be barely visible.
The culpeo's diet consists largely of rodents, rabbits, birds and lizards, and to a lesser extent, plant material and carrion. The culpeo does attack sheep on occasion, and is therefore often hunted or poisoned. In some regions it has become rare, but overall the species is not threatened with extinction.
The taxonomy of the culpeo has been the topic of debate due to their high phenetic variability and the scarcity of research, among other things. Over the past three decades, they have been placed variably in the genera Dusicyon (Clutton-Brock, et al., 1976; Wozencraft, 1989), Canis (Langguth, 1975; Van Gelder, 1978), Pseudalopex (Berta, 1987; Wozencraft, 1993; Tedford et al., 1995), and Lycalopex (Zunino, 1995; Wozencraft, 2005).
This canid, like other South American foxes, is still
The dicotyledons, also known as dicots, was a grouping formerly used for the flowering plants whose seed typically has two embryonic leaves or cotyledons. There are around 199,350 species within this group. Flowering plants that were not dicotyledons were called monocotyledons, typically having one embryonic leaf.
Dicotyledons are not a monophyletic group, and therefore the names "dicotyledons" and "dicots" are, strictly speaking, deprecated. However, the vast majority of "dicots" do form a monophyletic group called the eudicots or tricolpates. These may be distinguished from all other flowering plants by the structure of their pollen. Other dicotyledons and monocotyledons have monosulcate pollen, or forms derived from it, whereas eudicots have tricolpate pollen, or derived forms, the pollen having three or more pores set in furrows called colpi.
Traditionally the dicots have been called the Dicotyledones (or Dicotyledoneae), at any rank. If treated as a class, as in the Cronquist system, they may be called the Magnoliopsida after the type genus Magnolia. In some schemes, the eudicots are treated as a separate class, the Rosopsida (type genus Rosa), or as several separate classes.
The bilateria ( /ˌbaɪləˈtɪəriə/) are all animals having a bilateral symmetry, i.e. they have a front and a back end, as well as an upside and downside. Radially symmetrical animals like jellyfish have a topside and downside, but no front and back. The bilateralia are a subregnum (a major group) of animals, including the majority of phyla; the most notable exceptions are the sponges, belonging to Parazoa, and cnidarians belonging to Radiata. For the most part, Bilateria have bodies that develop from three different germ layers, called the endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm. From this they are called triploblastic. Nearly all are bilaterally symmetrical, or approximately so. The most notable exception is the echinoderms, which achieve near-radial symmetry as adults, but are bilaterally symmetrical as larvae.
Except for a few highly reduced forms, the Bilateria have complete digestive tracts with separate mouth and anus. Most Bilateria also have a type of internal body cavity, called a coelom. It was previously thought that acoelomates gave rise to the other group, but there is some evidence now that in the main acoelomate phyla (flatworms and gastrotrichs) the absence could be
The common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), also known as the robust chimpanzee, is a species of great ape. Colloquially, the common chimpanzee is often called the chimpanzee (or "chimp"), though technically this term refers to both species in the genus Pan: the common chimpanzee and the closely related bonobo, formerly called the pygmy chimpanzee. Evidence from fossils and DNA sequencing show both species of chimpanzees are the sister group to the modern human lineage.
The common chimpanzee is covered in coarse black hair, but has a bare face, fingers, toes, palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It is considered more robust than the bonobo, weighing between 40 and 65 kg (88 and 140 lb) and measuring approximately 1.6 to 1.3 m (5 ft 3 in to 4 ft 3 in) from head to tail. Its gestation period is eight months. The infant is weaned at about three years old, but usually maintains a close relationship with its mother for several more years; it reaches puberty at the age of eight to 10, and its lifespan in captivity is about 50 years.
The common chimpanzee lives in groups which range in size from 15 to 150 members, although individuals travel and forage in much smaller groups during the
The Cupressaceae or cypress family is a conifer family with worldwide distribution. The family includes 27 to 30 genera (17 monotypic), which include the junipers and redwoods, with about 130-140 species in total. They are monoecious, subdioecious or (rarely) dioecious trees and shrubs from 1–116 m (3–379 ft) tall. The bark of mature trees is commonly orange- to red- brown and of stringy texture, often flaking or peeling in vertical strips, but smooth, scaly or hard and square-cracked in some species.
The leaves are arranged either spirally, in decussate pairs (opposite pairs, each pair at 90° to the previous pair) or in decussate whorls of 3 or 4, depending on the genus. On young plants, the leaves are needle-like, becoming small and scale-like on mature plants of many (but not all) genera; some genera and species retain needle-like leaves throughout their life. Old leaves are mostly not shed individually, but in small sprays of foliage (cladoptosis); exceptions are the leaves on shoots, which develop into branches, which eventually fall off individually when the bark starts to flake. Most are evergreen with the leaves persisting 2–10 years, but three genera (Glyptostrobus,
A eukaryote ( /juːˈkæri.oʊt/ ew-KARR-ee-oht or /juːˈkæriət/) is an organism whose cells contain complex structures enclosed within membranes. Eukaryotes may more formally be referred to as the taxon Eukarya or Eukaryota. The defining membrane-bound structure that sets eukaryotic cells apart from prokaryotic cells is the nucleus, or nuclear envelope, within which the genetic material is carried. The presence of a nucleus gives eukaryotes their name, which comes from the Greek ευ (eu, "good") and κάρυον (karyon, "nut" or "kernel"). Most eukaryotic cells also contain other membrane-bound organelles such as mitochondria, chloroplasts and the Golgi apparatus. All large complex organisms are eukaryotes, including animals, plants and fungi. The group also includes many unicellular organisms.
Cell division in eukaryotes is different from that in organisms without a nucleus (Prokaryote). It involves separating the duplicated chromosomes, through movements directed by microtubules. There are two types of division processes. In mitosis, one cell divides to produce two genetically identical cells. In meiosis, which is required in sexual reproduction, one diploid cell (having two instances of
Laurasiatheria is a large group of placental mammals believed to have originated on the northern supercontinent of Laurasia. It includes shrews, hedgehogs, pangolins, bats, whales, most hoofed mammals (such as hippopotamuses), and carnivorans, among others.
Laurasiatheria was discovered on the basis of the similar gene sequences shared by the mammals belonging to it. No anatomical features have yet been found that unite the group. Laurasiatheria is a clade usually discussed without a Linnaean rank, but has been assigned the rank of cohort or magnorder, and superorder. The Laurasiatheria clade is based on DNA sequence analyses and retrotransposon presence/absence data. The name comes from the theory that these mammals evolved on the supercontinent of Laurasia, after it split from Gondwana when Pangaea broke up. It is a sister group to Euarchontoglires (or Supraprimates) with which it forms the clade Boreoeutheria. Laurasiatheria includes the following extant taxa:
There is still uncertainty regarding the phylogenetic tree for extant Laurasiatherians, primarily due to disagreement about the placement of Chiroptera and Perissodactyla. Based on morphological grounds, Chiroptera had
Felidae is the biological family of the cats; a member of this family is called a felid. The most familiar felid is the domestic cat, which first became associated with humans about 10,000 years ago; but the family includes all other wild cats, including the big cats.
Extant felids belong to one of two subfamilies: Pantherinae (which includes the tiger, the lion, the jaguar, and the leopard), and Felinae (which includes the cougar, the cheetah, the lynxes, the ocelot, and the domestic cat).
The first felids emerged during the Oligocene, about 25 million years ago. In prehistoric times, there was a third subfamily known as Machairodontinae, which included the "saber-toothed cats" such as the well known Smilodon. There were also other superficially cat-like mammals, such as the marsupial sabertooth Thylacosmilus or the Nimravidae, which are not included in Felidae despite superficial similarities.
Felids are the strictest carnivores of the thirteen terrestrial families in the order Carnivora, although the three families of marine mammals comprising the superfamily Pinnipedia are as carnivorous as the felids.
There are 41 known species of felids in the world today, all of which
The Mollusca (pronounced /mɵˈlʌskə/), common name molluscs or mollusks (pronounced /ˈmɒləsks/), are a large phylum of invertebrate animals. There are around 85,000 recognized extant species of molluscs. Mollusca is the largest marine phylum, comprising about 23% of all the named marine organisms. Numerous molluscs also live in freshwater and terrestrial habitats. Molluscs are highly diverse, not only in size and in anatomical structure, but also in behaviour and in habitat. The phylum is typically divided into nine or ten taxonomic classes, of which two are entirely extinct. Cephalopod molluscs such as squid, cuttlefish and octopus are among the most neurologically advanced of all invertebrates—and either the giant squid or the colossal squid is the largest known invertebrate species. The gastropods (snails and slugs) are by far the most numerous molluscs in terms of classified species, and account for 80% of the total.
Molluscs have such a varied range of body structures that it is difficult to find defining characteristics that apply to all modern groups. The two most universal features are a mantle with a significant cavity used for breathing and excretion, and the structure of
Liliopsida is a botanical name for the class containing the family Liliaceae (or Lily Family). It is considered synonymous (or nearly synonymous) with the name monocotyledon. Publication of the name is credited to Scopoli (in 1760): see author citation (botany). This name is formed by replacing the termination -aceae in the name Liliaceae by the termination -opsida (Art 16 of the ICBN).
Although in principle it is true that circumscription of this class will vary with the taxonomic system being used, in practice this name is very strongly linked to the Cronquist system, and the allied Takhtajan system. These two are the only major systems to use the name, and in both these systems it refers to the group more widely known as the monocotyledons. Earlier systems referred to this group by the name Monocotyledones, with Monocotyledoneae an earlier spelling (these names may be used in any rank). Systems such as the Dahlgren and Thorne systems (more recent than the Takhtajan and Cronquist systems) refer to this group by the name Liliidae (a name in the rank of subclass). Modern systems, such as the APG and APG II systems refer to this group by the name monocots (a name for a clade).
The Accipitridae, one of the two major families within the order Accipitriformes (the diurnal birds of prey), are a family of small to large birds with strongly hooked bills and variable morphology based on diet. They feed on a range of prey items from insects to medium-sized mammals, with a number feeding on carrion and a few feeding on fruit. The Accipitridae have a cosmopolitan distribution, being found on all the world's continents (except Antarctica) and a number of oceanic island groups. Some species are migratory.
Many well-known birds, such as hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures are included in this group. The Osprey is usually placed in a separate family (Pandionidae), as is the Secretary bird (Sagittariidae), and the New World vultures are also usually now regarded as a separate family or order. Karyotype data indicated that the accipitrids hitherto analysed are indeed a distinct monophyletic group, but whether this group should be considered a family of the Falconiformes or one or several order(s) on their own is a matter of taste.
The accipitrids have been variously divided into some 5–10 subfamilies. Most share a very similar morphology, but many of
Saxifragales is an order of flowering plants. Their closest relatives are a large eudicot group known as the rosids by the definition of rosids given in the APG II classification system. Some authors define the rosids more widely, including Saxifragales as their most basal group. Saxifragales is one of the eight groups that compose the core eudicots. The others are Gunnerales, Dilleniaceae, rosids, Santalales, Berberidopsidales, Caryophyllales, and asterids.
Saxifragales has an extensive fossil record. The extant members are apparently remnants of a formerly diverse and widespread order.
Saxifragales, as it is now understood, is based upon the results of molecular phylogenetic studies of DNA sequences. It is not part of any of the classification systems based on plant morphology. The group is much in need of comparative anatomical study, especially in light of the recent expansion of the family Peridiscaceae to include Medusandra, a genus that before 2009, had usually not been placed in Saxifragales.
The order is divided into suprafamilial groups as shown on the phylogenetic tree below. These groups are informal and are not understood to have any particular taxonomic
There are two living species referred to as "mink": the European Mink and the American Mink. The extinct Sea Mink is related to the American Mink, but was much larger. All three species are dark-colored, semi-aquatic, carnivorous mammals of the family Mustelidae, which also includes the weasels and the otters and ferrets. The American Mink is larger and more adaptable than the European Mink. It is sometimes possible to distinguish between the European and American mink; a European Mink always has a large white patch on its upper lip, while the American species sometimes does not. Thus, any mink without such a patch can be identified with certainty as an American Mink, but an individual with a patch cannot be certainly identified without looking at the skeleton. Taxonomically, both American and European Mink used to be placed in the same genus Mustela ("Weasels"), but most recently the American Mink has been re-classified as belonging to its own genus Neovison.
The American Mink's fur has been highly prized for its use in clothing, with hunting giving way to farming. Its treatment has also been a focus of animal rights and animal welfare activism. American Mink have found their way
Plasmodium falciparum is a protozoan parasite, one of the species of Plasmodium that cause malaria in humans. It is transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito. Malaria caused by this species (also called malignant or falciparum malaria) is the most dangerous form of malaria, with the highest rates of complications and mortality. As of 2006, there were an estimated 247 million human malarial infections (98% in Africa, 70% being 5 years or younger). It is much more prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa than in many other regions of the world; in most African countries, over 75% of cases were due to P. falciparum, whereas in most other countries with malaria transmission, other, less virulent plasmodial species predominate. Almost every malarial death is caused by P. falciparum.
Malaria is caused by an infection with protozoa of the genus Plasmodium. The name malaria, from the Italian mala aria, meaning "bad air", comes from the linkage suggested by Giovanni Maria Lancisi (1717) of malaria with the poisonous vapours of swamps. This species name comes from the Latin falx, meaning "sickle", and parere meaning "to give birth". The organism itself was first seen by Laveran on November 6, 1880
The lancelets (from "lancet"), also known as amphioxus, comprise some twenty-two species of fish-like marine chordates with a global distribution in shallow temperate (as far north as Scotland) and tropical seas, usually found half-buried in sand. They are the modern representatives of the subphylum Cephalochordata, formerly thought to be the sister group of the craniates. In Asia, they are harvested commercially as food for humans and domesticated animals. They are an important object of study in zoology as they provide indications about the origins of the vertebrates. Lancelets serve as an intriguing comparison point for tracing how vertebrates have evolved and adapted. Although lancelets split from vertebrates more than 520 million years ago, their genomes hold clues about evolution, particularly how vertebrates have employed old genes for new functions. They are regarded as similar to the archetypal vertebrate form.
The genome of the Florida lancelet (Branchiostoma floridae) has been sequenced.
Lancelets grow up to about 5 centimetres (2.0 in) long, reaching 7 centimetres (2.8 in) at the longest. They have a translucent, somewhat fish-like body, but without any paired fins or
An otter is any of 13 living species of semiaquatic (or in the case of the sea otter, aquatic) mammals which feed on fish and shellfish, and also other invertebrates, amphibians, birds and small mammals.
The otter subfamily Lutrinae forms part of the family Mustelidae, which also includes weasels, badgers, wolverines, and polecats.
The word otter derives from the Old English word otor or oter. This and cognate words in other Indo-European languages ultimately stem from the Proto-Indo-European language root *wódr̥ which also gave rise to the English word "water".
An otter's den is called a holt or couch. A male otter is a dog, a female a bitch, and a baby a whelp, kit, or pup. The collective nouns for otters are bevy, family, lodge or romp, being descriptive of their often playful nature, or when in water, raft.
The time of gestation in otters is about 60 to 86 days. The newborn pup is taken care of by the mother, the father, and all the other offspring. Female otters reach sexual maturity at approximately two years of age, while males can produce offspring at approximately three years of age. After one month, the young otter can come out of the cave, and after two months, it is
Aquila is the genus of true eagles. It is often united with the buteos, sea eagles and other more heavyset Accipitridae, but more recently it appears as if they are less distinct from the more slender accipitrine hawks than believed. Eagles are not a natural group but denote essentially any bird of prey large enough to hunt sizeable (about 50 cm long or more overall) vertebrate prey.
Aquila belongs to an extremely close-knit group of "typical" eagles. These include genera like Hieraaetus, Lophaetus, Ictinaetus and the extinct Harpagornis, and all these appear to be paraphyletic with regards to the traditional Aquila. Especially some, if not all, species of Hieraaetus, separated primarily due to their smaller size, seem to belong here. The entire "typical eagle" group is in need of a thorough revision, and thus this species list cannot be more than a tentative one at present.
Most problematic is certainly Hieraeetus, the hawk-eagles. It is known that the type species, the Booted Eagle, is very close to some Aquila eagles. Other hawk-eagles might indeed be distinct enough to warrant generic separation, but the name Hieraaetus is not available for them, being a junior synonym of
A sea eagle (also called erne or ern, mostly in reference to the White-tailed Eagle) is any of the birds of prey in the genus Haliaeetus in the bird of prey family Accipitridae.
Sea eagles vary in size, from Sanford's Fish Eagle averaging 2–2.7 kg to the huge Steller's Sea Eagle weighing up to 9 kg. At up to 6.9 kg, the White-tailed Eagle is the largest eagle in Europe. Bald Eagles can weigh up to 6.3 kg, making them the largest eagle native to North America. The White-bellied Sea Eagle can weigh up to 3.4 kg. Their diets consist mainly of fish and small mammals.
There are eight living species:
Three obvious species pairs exist: white-tailed and bald eagles, Sanford's and white-bellied sea eagles, and the African and Madagascar fish eagles. Each of these consists of a white- and a tan-headed species, and the tails are entirely white in all adult Haliaeetus except Sanford's, white-bellied, and Pallas's.
Haliaeetus is possibly one of the oldest genera of living birds. A distal left tarsometatarsus (DPC 1652) recovered from early Oligocene deposits of Fayyum, Egypt (Jebel Qatrani Formation, c.33 mya) is similar in general pattern and some details to that of a modern sea eagle. The
The Chromista are a eukaryotic supergroup, probably polyphyletic, which may be treated as a separate kingdom or included among the Protista. They include all algae whose chloroplasts contain chlorophylls a and c, as well as various colorless forms that are closely related to them. These are surrounded by four membranes, and are believed to have been acquired from some red alga.
Chromista has been defined in different ways at different times.
It has been described as consisting of three different groups:
In 2010, Thomas Cavalier-Smith indicated his desire to move Alveolata, Rhizaria and Heliozoa into Chromista.
The name Chromista was first introduced by Cavalier-Smith in 1981; the earlier names chromophyte and chromobiont correspond to roughly the same group. Molecular trees have had some difficulty resolving relationships between the different groups. All three may share a common ancestor with the alveolates (see chromalveolates), but there is evidence that suggests that the haptophytes and cryptomonads do not belong together with the heterokonts.
Coelurosauria /sɨˌljʊərəˈsɔriə/ (from Greek, meaning "hollow tailed lizards") is the clade containing all theropod dinosaurs more closely related to birds than to carnosaurs. In the past, it was used to refer to all small theropods, although this classification has been abolished. Nonetheless, it is still a diverse group that includes compsognathids, tyrannosaurs, ornithomimosaurs, and maniraptorans; Maniraptora includes birds, the only dinosaur descendants alive today. Most feathered dinosaurs discovered so far have been coelurosaurs; Philip J. Currie considers it probable that all coelurosaurs were feathered.
All coelurosaurs were bipedal, and most were carnivores, though many groups exhibited a more varied diet including insectivory (alvarezsauridae), omnivory (oviraptoridae and troodontidae), and herbivory (therizinosauridae). The group includes some of the largest (Tyrannosaurus) and smallest (Microraptor, Parvicursor) carnivorous dinosaurs ever discovered. Characteristics that distinguish coelurosaurs include:
To date, fossilized traces of feathers have been identified among most coelurosaurian lineages. Feathers of some type, or morphological features suggesting
The gray wolf or grey wolf (Canis lupus) is a species of canid native to the wilderness and remote areas of North America, Eurasia, and North Africa. It is the largest member of its family, with males averaging 43–45 kg (95–99 lb), and females 36–38.5 kg (79–85 lb). It is similar in general appearance and proportions to a German shepherd, or sled dog, but has a larger head, narrower chest, longer legs, straighter tail and bigger paws. Its winter fur is long and bushy, and is usually mottled gray in color, though it can range from nearly pure white, red, or brown to black.
Within the genus Canis, the gray wolf represents a more specialised and progressive form than its smaller cousins (the coyote and golden jackal), as demonstrated by its morphological adaptations to hunting large prey, its more gregarious nature and its highly advanced expressive behavior. It is a social animal, travelling in nuclear families consisting of a mated pair, accompanied by the pair's adult offspring. The gray wolf is typically an apex predator throughout its range, with only humans and tigers posing a serious threat to it. It feeds primarily on large ungulates, though it will also eat smaller animals,
The Irish Elk (Megaloceros giganteus), was a species of Megaloceros and one of the largest deer that ever lived. Its range extended across Eurasia, from Ireland to east of Lake Baikal, during the Late Pleistocene. The latest known remains of the species have been carbon dated to about 7,700 years ago. Although most skeletons have been found in Irish bogs, the animal was not exclusively Irish and was not closely related to either of the living species currently called elk - Alces alces (the European elk, known in North America as the moose) or Cervus canadensis (the North American elk or wapiti); for this reason, the name "Giant Deer" is used in some publications.
Megaloceros giganteus first appeared about 400,000 years ago. It possibly evolved from M. antecedens. The earlier taxon — sometimes considered a paleosubspecies M. giganteus antecedens — is similar but had more complex and compact antlers.
The Irish Elk stood about 2.1 metres (6.9 ft) tall at the shoulders, and it had the largest antlers of any known cervid (a maximum of 3.65 m (12.0 ft) from tip to tip and weighing up to 40 kg (88 lb)). In body size, the Irish Elk matched the extant moose subspecies of Alaska (Alces alces
The Apicomplexa (also referred to as Apicomplexia) are a large group of protists, most of which possess a unique organelle called apicoplast and an apical complex structure involved in penetrating a host's cell. They are unicellular, spore-forming, and exclusively parasites of animals. Motile structures such as flagella or pseudopods are present only in certain gamete stages. This is a diverse group including organisms such as coccidia, gregarines, piroplasms, haemogregarines, and plasmodia. Diseases caused by apicomplexan organisms include, but are not limited to:
The name of the taxon Apicomplexa is derived from two Latin words - apex (top) and complexus (infolds) - and refers to a set of organelles in the sporozoite. The older taxon Sporozoa grouped the Apicomplexa together with the Microsporidia and Myxosporida. This grouping is no longer regarded as biologically valid and its use is discouraged.
The first apicomplexan protozoan was seen by Antony van Leeuwenhoek who in 1674 saw oocysts of Eimeria stiedae in the gall bladder of a rabbit. The first member of the phylum to be named (by Dufour in 1828) was Gregarina ovata in earwigs. Since then many more have been identified and
Citrus is a common term and genus (Citrus) of flowering plants in the rue family, Rutaceae. Citrus is believed to have originated in the part of Southeast Asia bordered by Northeastern India, Myanmar (Burma) and the Yunnan province of China. Citrus fruit has been cultivated in an ever-widening area since ancient times; the best-known examples are the oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and limes.
The generic name originated in Latin, where it specifically referred to the plant now known as Citron (C. medica). It was derived from the ancient Greek word for cedar, κέδρος (kédros). Some believe this was because Hellenistic Jews used the fruits of C. medica during Sukkot (Feast of the Tabernacles) in place of a cedar cone, while others state it was due to similarities in the smell of citrus leaves and fruit with that of cedar. Collectively, Citrus fruits and plants are also known by the Romance loanword agrumes (literally "sour fruits").
The taxonomy and systematics of the genus are complex and the precise number of natural species is unclear, as many of the named species are hybrids clonally propagated through seeds (by apomixis), and there is genetic evidence that even some wild,
Ecdysozoa ( /ˌɛkdɪsɵˈzoʊ.ə/) is a group of protostome animals, including Arthropoda (insects, chelicerata, crustaceans, and myriapods), Nematoda, and several smaller phyla. They were first defined by Aguinaldo et al. in 1997, based mainly on trees constructed using 18S ribosomal RNA genes. A large study in 2008 by Dunn et al. strongly supported the Ecdysozoa as a clade, that is, a group consisting of a common ancestor and all its descendants.
The group is also supported by morphological characters, and can be considered as including all animals that shed their exoskeleton (see ecdysis). Groups corresponding roughly to the Ecdysozoa had been proposed previously by Perrier in 1897 and Seurat in 1920 based on morphology alone.
The group has been contested by a significant minority of biologists. Some have argued for groupings based on more traditional taxonomic techniques, while others have contested the interpretation of the molecular data.
The most notable characteristic shared by ecdysozoans is a three-layered cuticle composed of organic material, which is periodically molted as the animal grows. This process of molting is called ecdysis and gives the group its name. The
Tyrannosaurus ( /tɨˌrænəˈsɔrəs/ or /taɪˌrænəˈsɔrəs/; meaning "tyrant lizard", from Greek tyrannos (τύραννος) meaning "tyrant," and sauros (σαῦρος) meaning "lizard") is a genus of coelurosaurian theropod dinosaur. The species Tyrannosaurus rex (rex meaning "king" in Latin), commonly abbreviated to T. rex, is a fixture in popular culture. It lived throughout what is now western North America, at the time an island continent termed Laramidia, with a much wider range than other tyrannosaurids. Fossils are found in a variety of rock formations dating to the Maastrichtian age of the upper Cretaceous Period, 67 to 65.5 million years ago. It was among the last non-avian dinosaurs to exist before the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.
Like other tyrannosaurids, Tyrannosaurus was a bipedal carnivore with a massive skull balanced by a long, heavy tail. Relative to the large and powerful hindlimbs, Tyrannosaurus forelimbs were small, though unusually powerful for their size, and bore two clawed digits. Although other theropods rivaled or exceeded Tyrannosaurus rex in size, it was the largest known tyrannosaurid and one of the largest known land predators, measuring up to
Leporids are over 60 species of rabbits and hares which form the family Leporidae. The leporids, together with the pikas, constitute the mammalian order Lagomorpha. Leporids differ from pikas in having short furry tails, and elongated ears and hind legs. The name leporid is simply an abbreviation of the family name Leporidae meaning animals resembling "lepus", Latin for hare.
Members of all genera except Lepus are usually referred to as rabbits, while members of Lepus (which accounts for almost half the species) are usually called hares. However the distinction between these two common names does not map completely into current taxonomy, since jackrabbits are members of Lepus, and members of the genera Pronolagus and Caprolagus are sometimes called hares.
Leporids are native across the world except Antarctica, and in Oceania where their introduction is a significant threat for the native mammals in Australia.
Leporids are small to moderately sized mammals, adapted for rapid movement. They have long hind legs, with four toes on each foot, and shorter fore legs, with five toes each. The soles of their feet are hairy, to improve grip while running, and they have strong claws on all of
Pterygota is a subclass of insects that includes the winged insects. It also includes insect orders that are secondarily wingless (that is, insect groups whose ancestors once had wings but that have lost them as a result of subsequent evolution).
The pterygotan group comprises almost all insects. The hexapod orders not included are the Archaeognatha (jumping bristletails) and the Thysanura (silverfishes and firebrats), two primitively wingless insect orders. Also not included are the three orders that are no longer considered to be insects: Protura, Collembola, and Diplura.
Traditionally, this group was divided into the infraclasses Paleoptera and Neoptera. The former are nowadays strongly suspected of being paraphyletic, and better treatments (such as dividing or dissolving the group) are presently being discussed. In addition, it is not clear how exactly the neopterans are related among each other. The Exopterygota might be a similar assemblage of rather ancient hemimetabolous insects among the Neopteras like the Palaeoptera are among insects as a whole. The holometabolous Endopterygota seem to be very close relatives indeed, but nonetheless appear to contain several clades of
Bacteria (/bækˈtɪəriə/ ( listen); singular: bacterium) constitute a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals. Bacteria were among the first life forms to appear on Earth, and are present in most habitats on the planet, growing in soil, acidic hot springs, radioactive waste, water, and deep in the Earth's crust, as well as in organic matter and the live bodies of plants and animals, providing outstanding examples of mutualism in the digestive tracts of humans, termites and cockroaches.
There are typically 40 million bacterial cells in a gram of soil and a million bacterial cells in a millilitre of fresh water; in all, there are approximately five nonillion (5×10) bacteria on Earth, forming a biomass that exceeds that of all plants and animals. Bacteria are vital in recycling nutrients, with many steps in nutrient cycles depending on these organisms, such as the fixation of nitrogen from the atmosphere and putrefaction. In the biological communities surrounding hydrothermal vents and cold seeps, bacteria provide the nutrients needed to sustain life by converting
Bears are mammals of the family Ursidae. Bears are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans, with the pinnipeds being their closest living relatives. Although there are only eight living species of bear, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern Hemisphere and partially in the Southern Hemisphere. Bears are found in the continents of North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.
Common characteristics of modern bears include a large body with stocky legs, a long snout, shaggy hair, plantigrade paws with five nonretractile claws, and a short tail. While the polar bear is mostly carnivorous and the giant panda feeds almost entirely on bamboo, the remaining six species are omnivorous, with varied diets.
With the exceptions of courting individuals and mothers with their young, bears are typically solitary animals. They are generally diurnal, but may be active during the night (nocturnal) or twilight (crepuscular), particularly around humans. Bears are aided by an excellent sense of smell, and despite their heavy build and awkward gait, they can run quickly and are adept climbers and swimmers. In autumn, some bear species forage large
The genus Pygoscelis ("rump-legged") contains three living species of penguins collectively known as "The Brush-Tailed Penguins". Their appearance - black above, white below - is the stereotypical image of penguins, and so what most people think of when they think of penguins.
Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA evidence suggests the genus split from other penguins around 38 million years ago, about 2 million years after the ancestors of the genus Aptenodytes. In turn, the Adelie Penguins split off from the other members of the genus around 19 million years ago.
The three extant species are:
The latter two are tentatively assigned to this genus.
Photographs of adult penguins of the extant (living) species:
An odd-toed ungulate is a mammal with hooves that feature an odd number of toes. Odd-toed ungulates comprise the order Perissodactyla (Greek: περισσός, perissós, "uneven", and δάκτυλος, dáktylos, "finger/toe"). The middle toe on each hoof is usually larger than its neighbours. Odd-toed ungulates are relatively large grazers and, unlike the ruminant even-toed ungulates (artiodactyls), they have relatively simple stomachs because they are hindgut fermenters, digesting plant cellulose in their intestines rather than in one or more stomachs. Odd-toed ungulates include the horse, tapirs, and rhinoceroses.
Although no certain fossils are known prior to the early Eocene, the odd-toed ungulates probably arose in what is now Asia, during the Paleocene-Eocene boundary (55 million years ago).
By the start of the Eocene 55 million years ago (Mya), they had diversified and spread out to occupy several continents. Horses and tapirs both evolved in North America; rhinoceroses appear to have developed in Asia from tapir-like animals and then recolonised the Americas during the middle Eocene (about 45 Mya). Of the approximately 15 families, only three survive (McKenna and Bell, 1997; Hooker, 2005).
The Southern Rockhopper Penguin group (Eudyptes chrysocome), are two subspecies of rockhopper penguin, that together are sometimes considered distinct from the Northern Rockhopper Penguin. It occurs in subantarctic waters of the western Pacific and Indian Oceans, as well as around the southern coasts of South America.
This is the smallest yellow-crested, black-and-white penguin in the genus Eudyptes. It reaches a length of 45–58 cm (18–23 in) and typically weighs 2–3.4 kg (4.4–7.5 lb), although there are records of exceptionally large rockhoppers weighing 5 kg (11 lb). It has slate-grey upper parts and a straight, bright yellow eyebrow ending in long yellowish plumes projecting sideways behind a red eye.
The Rockhopper Penguin complex is confusing. Many taxononists consider all three Rockhopper Penguin forms subspecies. Some split the Northern subspecies (moseleyi) from the Southern forms (chrysocome and filholi). Still others consider all three distinct. The subspecies recognized for the Southern Rockhopper Penguin complex are:
The Northern Rockhopper Penguin lives in a different water mass than the Western and Eastern Rockhopper Penguins, separated by the Subtropical Front, and
The toothed whales (systematic name Odontoceti) form a suborder of the cetaceans, including sperm whales, beaked whales, dolphins, and others. As the name suggests, the suborder is characterized by the presence of teeth rather than the baleen of other whales.
Toothed whales have a single blowhole on the top of the head (while the baleen whales possess two of them). The nostrils are not fused; one of them has become dominant over the other.
As an adaptation for their echolocation, toothed whale skulls have become asymmetric. Their brains are relatively big, although more significant growth didn't occur before their echolocation started to evolve. Toothed whales' brains have a poor connection between the two hemispheres. A fatty organ called a melon on their heads is used like a lens to focus sound waves for echolocation. Vocal cords are not present; their sounds are produced in the blowhole system instead. Toothed whales have lost their sense of smell, as well as their saliva glands.
Except for the Sperm Whale, most toothed whales are smaller than the baleen whales. The teeth differ considerably among the species. They may be numerous, with some dolphins bearing over 100 teeth in
Bison antiquus, sometimes called the "ancient bison", was the most common large herbivore of the North American continent for over ten thousand years, and is a direct ancestor of the living American bison.
During the later Pleistocene Epoch, between 240,000 and 220,000 years ago, steppe wisent (Bison priscus), migrated from Siberia into Alaska. This species inhabited parts of northern North America throughout the remainder of the Pleistocene. In midcontinent North America, however, B. priscus was replaced by the long-horned bison, Bison latifrons, and somewhat later by Bison antiquus. The larger B. latifrons appears to have died out by about 20,000 years ago. In contrast, B. antiquus became increasingly abundant in parts of midcontinent North America from 18,000 ya until about 10,000 ya, after which the species appears to have given rise to the living species, Bison bison. B. antiquus is the most commonly recovered large mammalian herbivore from the La Brea tar pits.
B. antiquus was taller, had larger bones and horns and was 15-25% larger overall than modern bison: It reached up to 2.27 m (7.5 ft) tall, 4.6 m (15 ft) long, and a weight of 1588 kg. From tip to tip, the horns of B.
Blanford's fox (Vulpes cana), is a small fox found in certain regions of the Middle East.
It is also known as the Afghan fox, royal fox, Corsac, dog fox, hoary fox, steppe fox, black fox, king fox, cliff fox or Baluchistan fox. This can be confusing because other species are known as the corsac fox (Vulpes corsac) and the hoary fox (Lycalopex vetulus).
The Blanford's fox inhabits semi-arid regions, steppes and mountains of Afghanistan, Egypt (Sinaï), Turkestan, northeast Iran, SW Pakistan, the West Bank and Israel. It may also live throughout Arabia (Oman, Yemen and Jordan), as one was trapped in Dhofar, Oman in 1984. Recent camera trapping surveys have confirmed the presence of the species in several places in the mountains of South Sinai, Egypt and the Mountains of Ras Al Khaima, UAE, and in Saudi Arabia.
The Blanford's fox has an ability to climb rocks and jump described as "astonishing", jumping to ledges 3 meters above them with ease and as part of their regular movements and climbing vertical, crumbling cliffs by a series of jumps up vertical sections. The foxes use their sharp, curved claws and naked footpads for traction on narrow ledges and their long, bushy tails as a
The conifers, division Pinophyta, also known as division Coniferophyta or Coniferae, are one of 13 or 14 division level taxa within the Kingdom Plantae. Pinophytes are gymnosperms. They are cone-bearing seed plants with vascular tissue; all extant conifers are woody plants, the great majority being trees with just a few being shrubs. Typical examples of conifers include cedars, Douglas-firs, cypresses, firs, junipers, kauri, larches, pines, hemlocks, redwoods, spruces, and yews. The division contains approximately eight families, 68 genera, and 550 living species. Although the total number of species is relatively small, conifers are of immense ecological importance. They are the dominant plants over huge areas of land, most notably the boreal forests of the northern hemisphere, but also in similar cool climates in mountains further south. Boreal conifers have many winter time adaptations. The narrow conical shape of northern conifers, and their downward-drooping limbs help them shed snow. Many of them seasonally alter their biochemistry to make them more resistant to freezing, called "hardening". While tropical rainforests have more biodiversity and turnover, the immense conifer
Escherichia is a genus of Gram-negative, non-spore forming, facultatively anaerobic, rod-shaped bacteria from the family Enterobacteriaceae. In those species which are inhabitants of the gastrointestinal tracts of warm-blooded animals, Escherichia species provide a portion of the microbially-derived vitamin K for their host. A number of the species of Escherichia are pathogenic. The genus is named after Theodor Escherich, discoverer of E. coli
While many Escherichia are harmless commensals, particular strains of some species are human pathogens, and are known as the most common cause of urinary tract infections, significant sources of gastrointestinal disease, ranging from simple diarrhea to dysentery-like conditions, as well as a wide-range of other pathogenic states. While Escherichia coli is responsible for the vast majority of Escherichia-related pathogenesis, other members of the genus have also been implicated in human disease.
Moropus (meaning "slow foot") is an extinct genus of mammal, belonging to a group called chalicotheres, which were perissodactyl ("odd-toed") mammals, endemic to North America during the Miocene from ~23.0—13.6 Mya, existing for approximately 9.4 million years.
Moropus is related to the modern horse, rhino, and tapir.
Moropus was named by Marsh (1877). Its type is Moropus distans. It was synonymized subjectively with Macrotherium by Osborn (1893). It was assigned to Moropodidae by Marsh (1877); to Chalicotheriidae by Marsh (1877), Peterson (1907), Skinner (1968), Coombs (1978), Carroll (1988), Coombs (1998) and Holbrook (1999); and to Schizotheriinae by Geraads et al. (2007).
Like other chalicotheres, they differed from their modern relatives in having large claws, rather than hooves, on the front feet; these claws may have been used for defense or digging for food. Moropus stood about 8 feet (2.4 m) tall at the shoulder. The three highly compressed claw-like hooves on each foot were split down the middle. These claws actually gave Moropus its name: " slow "or "sloth foot". This name implies that because of the claws, Moropus was a clumsy mover. But the articulation of the
Neoptera is a classification group that includes almost all the winged insects, specifically those that can flex their wings over their abdomens. This is in contrast with the more basal orders of winged insects (the "Paleoptera" assemblage), which are unable to flex their wings in this way.
ITIS lumps all neopteran orders together in this infraclass without subdivision; other authorities recognise several superorders within it. Almost universally accepted are the Exopterygota - hemimetabolous neopterans, in which the wings are already visible before the adult stage and no pupa or chrysalis stage occurs -, and the Endopterygota, the holometabolous insects in which the wings develop inside the body during the larval stage and only become external appendages during the pupa or chrysalis stage.
As of recently, there are several attempts to resolve the neopteran diversity further. While this appears to be less controversial than in the (apparently paraphyletic) "Palaeoptera", there are nonetheless lots of unresolved questions. For example, the hymenopterans, traditionally considered highly advanced due to their intricate social systems, seem to be far more basal among the Endopterygota,
A piranha or piraña ( /pɨˈrɑːnʲə/, /pɨˈrænʲə/, or /pɨˈrɑːnə/; Portuguese: [piˈɾɐ̃ɲɐ]) is a member of family Characidae in order Characiformes, an omnivorous freshwater fish that inhabits South American rivers. In Venezuela, they are called caribes. They are known for their sharp teeth and a voracious appetite for meat.
Piranhas belong to the subfamily Serrasalminae, which also includes closely related omnivorous fish such as pacus. Traditionally, only the four genera Pristobrycon, Pygocentrus, Pygopristis and Serrasalmus are considered to be true piranhas, due to their specialized teeth. However, a recent analysis showed that, if the piranha group is to be monophyletic, it should be restricted to Serrasalmus, Pygocentrus and part of Pristobrycon, or expanded to include these taxa plus Pygopristis, Catoprion, and Pristobrycon striolatus. Pygopristis was found to be more closely related to Catoprion than the other three piranha genera.
The total number of piranha species is unknown and contested, and new species continue to be described. Estimates range from fewer than 30 to more than 60.
Piranhas are found in the Amazon basin, in the Orinoco, in rivers of the Guyanas, in the
The simians (infraorder Simiiformes, =Anthropoidea) are the "higher primates" familiar to most people: the Old World monkeys and apes, including humans, (together being the catarrhines), and the New World monkeys or platyrrhines.
In earlier classification, New World monkeys, Old World monkeys, apes, and humans—collectively known as simians or anthropoids—were grouped under Anthropoidea (/an'thro-poy'de-a/, Gr. άνθρωπος, anthropos, human), while the strepsirrhines and tarsiers were grouped under the suborder "Prosimii". Under modern classification, the tarsiers and simians are grouped under the suborder Haplorhini while the strepsirrhines are placed in suborder Strepsirrhini. Despite this preferred taxonomic division, the terms "anthropoid" and "prosimian" are still regularly found in textbooks and the academic literature because of familiarity, a condition likened to the use of the metric system in the sciences and the use of customary units elsewhere in the United States.
Primatology, paleoanthropology, and other related fields are split on their usage of the synonymous infraorder names, Simiiformes and Anthropoidea. According to Robert Hoffstetter, and supported by Colin Groves,
The Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) also known as the Persian Lion and Eurasian lion, is a subspecies of lion. The only place in the wild where this species is found is in the Gir Forest of Gujarat, India. In 2010, the Gujarat government reported 411 Asiatic lions were sighted in the Gir forest; a rise of 52 over the last census of 2005.
The Asiatic lion is one of the five major big cats found in India, the others being the Bengal tiger, the Indian leopard, the snow leopard and clouded leopard. The Asiatic lions once ranged from the Mediterranean to the northeastern parts of the Indian subcontinent, but excessive hunting, water pollution, and decline in natural prey reduced their habitat. Historically, Asiatic lions were classified into three kinds – Bengal, Arabian and Persian lions. Asiatic lions are smaller and lighter than their African counterparts, but are equally aggressive.
The historic range of the Asiatic lion of the Panthera leo Persica subspecies is believed to have extended from Northern India in the east through modern Iran, south throughout the periphery of the Arabian Peninsula and west towards modern Greece and Italy. Indeed, multiple fossil localities of the
Caniformia, or Canoidea (literally "dog-like"), is a suborder within the order Carnivora. They typically possess a long snout and non-retractile claws (in contrast to the cat-like carnivorans, the Feliformia). The Pinnipedia (seals, sea lions and walruses) evolved from caniform ancestors and are accordingly assigned to this group. Most members of this group have non-retractile claws (the fisher, marten, red panda and ringtail have retractile or semi-retractile claws) and tend to be plantigrade (with the exception of Canidae). Other traits that separate Caniformia from Feliformia is that caniforms have longer jaws and have more teeth, with less specialized carnassial teeth. They also tend more towards omnivorous and opportunistic feeding, while the feliforms are more specialized for eating meat. Caniforms have single-chambered or partially divided auditory bullae, composed of a single bone, while in feliforms the auditory bullae are double-chambered, composed of two bones joined by a septum.
Caniformia consists of twelve families, with nine extant and three extinct. The extant Caniform families are monophyletic according to their molecular phylogeny. At one time, Hyaenidae were
The cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) was a species of bear that lived in Europe during the Pleistocene and became extinct at the beginning of the Last Glacial Maximum, about 27,500 years ago.
Both the name "cave" and the scientific name spelaeus derive from the fact that fossils of this species were mostly found in caves, indicating this species spent more time in caves than the brown bear, which only uses caves for hibernation. Consequently, in the course of time, whole layers of bones, almost entire skeletons, were found in many caves.
Cave bear skeletons were first described in 1774 by Johann Friederich Esper in his book Newly Discovered Zoolites of Unknown Four Footed Animals. Originally thought to belong to dragons, unicorns, apes, canids or felids, Esper postulated they actually belonged to polar bears. Twenty years later, Johann Christian Rosenmüller, an anatomist at the Leipzig University, gave the species its binomial name. The bones were so numerous, most researchers held little respect for them. During World War I, large amounts of cave bear bones were used as a source of phosphates, leaving behind little more than skulls and leg bones.
Many caves in Central Europe have
The South Andean Deer, Hippocamelus bisulcus, also known as the Chilean Guemal or Huemul (/ˈweɪmuːl/ WAY-mool), is an endangered species of deer native to the mountains of Argentina and Chile. One of two mid-sized deer of the Hippocamelus genus, the South Andean Deer ranges across the high mountainsides and cold valleys of the Andes. The distribution and habitat, behaviour, and diet of the deer have all been the subject of study. The viability of the small remaining population is an outstanding concern to researchers.
The Huemul is part of Chile's National Coat of Arms and it is since 2006 a National Natural Monument.
The South Andean Deer is well-adapted to broken, difficult terrain with a stocky build and short legs. A brown to greyish-brown coat tapers to white undersides and a white marked throat; the long, curled hairs of the coat provide protection against cold and moisture. Does are 70 to 80 kg. (154-176 lbs.) and stand 80 cm. (31 in.), while bucks are 90 kg (198 lbs.) and 90 cm (35 in). (Other weight suggestions are lower.) There is no sexual size difference amongst fawns, which are born unspotted.
Sexual dimorphism is notable. Only the bucks have antlers, which are shed
The Bengal fox (Vulpes bengalensis), also known as the Indian fox, is a fox endemic to the Indian subcontinent and is found from the Himalayan foothills and Terai of Nepal through southern India and from southern and eastern Pakistan to eastern India and southeastern Bangladesh.
Vulpes bengalensis is a relatively small fox with an elongated muzzle, long, pointed ears, and a bushy tail about 50 to 60% of the length of the head and body. Its dorsal pelage is very variable, but mostly grayish and paler ventrally; its legs tend to be brownish or rufous. It is more daintily built than Vulpes vulpes. The tail is bushy with a prominent black tip which distinguishes it from V. vulpes. Back of ears are dark brown with black margin. Its rhinarium is naked and the lips are black, with small black hair patches on upper part of nuzzle (shaft) in front of eyes. The ears have the same colour as the nape or maybe darker, but not having a dark patch as in V. vulpes. Extensive variation in coat colour exists across populations and seasonally within populations, but generally varies from grey to pale brown. The head and body length is 18 in (46 cm), with a 10 in (25 cm) long tail. Typical weight is 5
The Cape Lion, Panthera leo melanochaitus, is a subspecies of lion that is now extinct.
As with the Barbary lion, several people and institutions claim to have Cape lions. In 2000, possible specimens were found in captivity in Russia and brought to South Africa for breeding. There is much confusion between Cape lions and other dark-coloured long-maned captive lions. Lions in captivity today have been bred and cross-bred from lions captured in Africa long ago, with examples from all of these 'subspecies'. Mixed together, hybridized, most of today's captive lions have a 'soup' of alleles from many different lions.
Early authors justified "distinct" subspecific status of the Cape lion because of the seemingly fixed external morphology of the lions. Males had a huge mane extending behind their shoulders and covering the belly, and the lions' ears also had distinctive black tips. However, nowadays it is known that various extrinsic factors, including the ambient temperature, influence the colour and size of a lion's mane. Results of mitochondrial DNA research published in 2006 do not support the "distinctness" of the Cape lion. It may be that the Cape lion was only the southernmost
The European hare (Lepus europaeus), also known as the brown hare, eastern jackrabbit and eastern prairie hare, is a species of hare native to northern, central, and western Europe and western Asia. It is a mammal adapted to temperate, open country. It is related to the similarly appearing rabbit, which is in the same family but a different genus. It breeds on the ground rather than in a burrow and relies on speed to escape.
Normally shy animals, hares change their behaviours in the spring, when they can be seen in broad daylight chasing one another around meadows. During this spring frenzy, hares can be seen "boxing", where hares strike one another with their paws. For a long time, this had been thought to be competition between males, but closer observation has revealed it is usually a female hitting a male, either to show she is not yet quite ready to mate or as a test of his determination.
The hare is declining in mainland Europe due to changes in farming practices. Its natural predators include the golden eagle and carnivorous mammals, such as the red fox and wolf. Smaller hares native to southern Europe previously regarded as European hares have been split off as separate
The Hymenoptera are one of the largest orders of insects, comprising the sawflies, wasps, bees and ants. Over 130,000 species are recognized, with many more remaining to be described. The name refers to the wings of the insects, and is derived from the Ancient Greek ὑμήν (hymen): membrane and πτερόν (pteron): wing. The hindwings are connected to the forewings by a series of hooks called hamuli.
Females typically have a special ovipositor for inserting eggs into hosts or otherwise inaccessible places. The ovipositor is often modified into a stinger. The young develop through complete metamorphosis — that is, they have a worm-like larval stage and an inactive pupal stage before they mature (See holometabolism).
The term Hymenoptera was coined by Carl Linnæus in 1773 from the Greek hymenos, meaning membrane, added to pteron, which means wings. This, therefore, denotes the species contained within the particular order bear membraned wings.
Hymenoptera originated in the Triassic, the oldest fossils belonging to the family Xyelidae. Social hymenopterans appeared during the Cretaceous. The evolution of this group has been intensively studied by A. Rasnitsyn, M. S. Engel, G. Dlussky, and
The Indian wolf (Canis lupus pallipes) is a gray wolf subspecies inhabiting South and south-western Asia.
Some experts have suggested at least some C. lupus pallipes populations be re-classified a canid species distinct from C. lupus. Other experts believe it may be the wolf subspecies from which the domestic dog evolved, pointing to its small size and comparatively docile behaviour, although they are also known man-eaters. While their populations are stable or increasing in some countries, in others they may be endangered. C. l. pallipes has been featured in different roles in different west Asian cultures; treated as vermin or menace in some times and places, respected and protected in others.
Indian wolves are generally smaller than European wolves, being 3 ft (91 cm) in length and 26 in (66 cm) high at the shoulder, while the tail is 16 to 18 in (41 to 46 cm) long. The pelage is shorter than that of northern wolves, and has little to no underfur. Fur colour ranges from greyish red to reddish white with black tips. The dark V shaped stripe over the shoulders is much more pronounced than in northern wolves. The underparts and legs are more or less white. The skins of Indian
Speothos is a genus of canid found in Central and South America. The genus includes the living Bush Dog, Speothos venaticus, as well as an extinct Pleistocene species, Speothos pacivorus. Surprisingly, the fossil species was identified and named prior to the discovery of the extant species, with the result that the type species of Speothos is S. pacivorus.
The Tent-making Bat, Uroderma bilobatum, is a bat species from South and Central America. It lives in hollowed out trees. It is sometimes speculated that the bat is green in color, even though it is only thought so because of the "tent" the bat makes is made out a leaf that is green in color, in truth, the bat is whitish in color.
Ursus is a genus in the family Ursidae (bears) that includes the widely distributed brown bears, the polar bear, and black bears. The name is derived from the Latin ursus, meaning bear.
A hybrid between grizzly bears and polar bears has also been recorded (known commonly as a pizzly, prizzly or grolar bear). The official name is a grizzly–polar bear hybrid.
Vulpes is a genus of the Canidae family. Its members are referred to as 'true foxes', although the common names of species in other genera include the word 'fox'. True foxes are distinguished from members of the genus Canis, such as wolves, coyotes, and jackals, by their smaller size and flatter skulls. They have black, triangular markings between the eyes and nose, and the tips of their tails are often a different colour from the rest of their pelts.
The arctic fox is sometimes included in this genus as Vulpes lagopus based on the definitive mammal taxonomy list, as well as genetic evidence.
The Yellow-eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) or Hoiho is a penguin native to New Zealand. Previously thought closely related to the Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor), molecular research has shown it more closely related to penguins of the genus Eudyptes. Like most other penguins, it is mainly piscivorous.
The species breeds around the South Island of New Zealand, as well as Stewart, Auckland and Campbell Islands. Colonies on the Otago Peninsula are a popular tourist venue, where visitors may closely observe penguins from hides, trenches or tunnels.
The Yellow-eyed Penguin is the sole extant species in the genus Megadyptes. (A smaller, recently extinct species M. waitaha was discovered in 2008.) Previously thought closely related to the Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor), new molecular research has shown it more closely related to penguins of the genus Eudyptes. Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA evidence suggests it split from the ancestors of Eudyptes around 15 million years ago.
The Yellow-eyed Penguin was described by Jacques Bernard Hombron and Honoré Jacquinot in 1841. The Maori name is Hoiho.
This is a mid-sized penguin, measuring 62–79 cm (24–31 in) long. Weights vary through the
Homo is the genus of great apes that includes modern humans and species closely related to them. The genus is estimated to be about 2.3 to 2.4 million years old, possibly having evolved from australopithecine ancestors, with the appearance of Homo habilis. Specifically, H. habilis is assumed to be the direct descendant of Australopithecus garhi, which lived about 2.5 million years ago. However, in May 2010 H. gautengensis was discovered, a species believed to be even older than H. habilis.
The most salient physiological development between the two species is the increase in cranial capacity, from about 450 cc (27 cu in) in A. garhi to 600 cc (37 cu in) in H. habilis. Within the Homo genus, cranial capacity again doubled from H. habilis through Homo ergaster or H. erectus to Homo heidelbergensis by 0.6 million years ago. The cranial capacity of H. heidelbergensis overlaps with the range found in modern humans.
The advent of Homo was thought to coincide with the first evidence of stone tools (the Oldowan industry), and thus by definition with the beginning of the Lower Palaeolithic; however, recent evidence from Ethiopia now places the earliest evidence of stone tool usage
Rüppell's fox (Vulpes rueppellii), also spelled Rueppell's fox and also called the sand fox, is a species of fox living in North Africa and the Middle East, from Morocco and the Sahel region to the Afghanistan hills. and SW Pakistan It is named after the German collector Eduard Rüppell. Rüpell's fox is also called the sand fox, but this terminology is confusing because the corsac fox (Vulpes corsac) and the Tibetan sand fox (Vulpes ferrilata) are also known as the "sand fox".
It has an average life expectancy of up to 6 or 7 years in the wild, but can live much longer in captivity.
Rüppell's fox is 40-52 centimeters (15.75-20.5 inches) long and has an average weight of 1.7 kilograms (3.75 lbs). It is a very small canine, and is considerably smaller than the red fox. It is sandy in color and has black patches on the muzzle, as well as a white tipped tail. Rüppell's fox has fur on the pads on its feet, that possibly helps distribute their weight and move easily on sand, and definitely keeps the hot sand from burning their feet. Similar to other desert dwelling foxes, Rüppell's fox has massive ears to cool it off. The tail is long and bushy. These features make Rüppell's fox look
The American lion (Panthera leo atrox or P. atrox) — also known as the North American lion, Naegele’s giant jaguar or American cave lion — is an extinct lion of the family Felidae, endemic to North America and northwestern South America during the Pleistocene epoch (0.34 mya to 11,000 years ago), existing for approximately 0.33 million years. It has been shown by genetic analysis to be a sister lineage to the Eurasian cave lion (Panthera leo spelaea or P. spelaea).
The American lion is one of the largest types of cat ever to have existed, slightly larger than the Early Middle Pleistocene primitive cave lion, P. leo fossilis and about 25% larger than the modern African lion.
The American lion is an extinct animal that originated in North America and is believed to have colonized northwestern South America as part of the Great American Interchange. (However, it has been suggested that the fossil remains found in Peru may actually correspond to large jaguars.) The head-body length of the American lion is estimated to have been 1.6–2.5 m (5 ft 3 in–8 ft 2 in) and it would have stood 1.2 metres (4 ft) at the shoulder. Thus it was smaller than its contemporary competitor for prey, the
The baleen whales, also called whalebone whales or great whales, form the Mysticeti, one of two suborders of the Cetacea (whales, dolphins, and porpoises). Baleen whales are characterized by having baleen plates for filtering food from water, rather than having teeth. This distinguishes them from the other suborder of cetaceans, the toothed whales or Odontoceti. Living species of Mysticeti have teeth only during the embryonal phase. Fossil Mysticeti had teeth before baleen evolved.
The suborder contains four extant families and 15 species.
The taxonomic name Mysticeti apparently derives from a transmission error in early copies of Aristotle's Historia Animalium, in which "ο μυς το κητος" ("the whale known as 'the mouse' or 'gutter whale' ") was mistakenly run together as "ο μυστικητος" ("the Mysticetus"). An alternate name for the suborder is Mystacoceti (from Greek μυσταξ "moustache" + κητος "whale").
Baleen whales are generally larger than toothed whales, and females are bigger than males. This group includes the largest known animal species, the blue whale.
Baleen whales have two blowholes, causing a V-shaped blow.
These whales are found solitary or in small groups called pods.
Eureptilia ("true reptiles") is one of the two major clades of the Sauropsida, the other being Anapsida (or Parareptilia). Eureptilia includes not only all Diapsids, but also a number of primitive Permo-Carboniferous forms previously classified under the Anapsida, in the old (no longer recognised) order "Cotylosauria".
Primitive eureptilians were all small, superficially lizard-like forms, that probably scurried through the Paleozoic undergrowth in search of insects. The diapsids are the only eureptilian clade to continue beyond the Permian Period. Eureptilia is defined by the skull having greatly reduced supraoccipital, tabular, and supratemporal bones that are no longer in contact with the postorbital.
Cladogram modified after Muller and Reisz (2006):
Tarpan (Equus ferus ferus, also known as Eurasian wild horse) is an extinct subspecies of wild horse. The last individual believed to be of this subspecies died in captivity in Russia in 1909, although some sources claim that it was not a genuine wild horse due to its resemblance to domesticated horses.
Beginning in the 1930s, several attempts were made to develop horses that look like the Tarpan through selective breeding, called breeding back by advocates. The breeds that resulted included the Heck horse, the Hegardt or Stroebel's horse, and a derivation of the Konik breed, all of which have a primitive appearance, particularly in having the grullo coat color. Some of these horses are now promoted as "Tarpans."
The name "tarpan" or "tarpani" is from a Turkic language (Kyrgyz or Kazakh) name meaning "wild horse". The Tatars and Cossacks distinguished the wild horse from the feral horse; the latter was called Takja or Muzin.
In modern use, the term has been loosely used to refer to the predomesticated ancestor of the modern horse, Equus ferus, to the pre-domestic subspecies believed to have lived into the historic era, equus ferus ferus, and to all European primitive or "wild"
The dusky dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obscurus) is a dolphin found in coastal waters in the Southern Hemisphere. Its specific epithet is Latin for "dark" or "dim". It is very closely genetically related to the Pacific white-sided dolphin, but current scientific consensus is that they are distinct species. The dolphin's range is patchy with major populations around South America, southwestern Africa, New Zealand and various oceanic islands with some sightings around southern Australia and Tasmania. The dusky dolphin prefers cool currents and inshore waters but can also be found offshore. It feeds on a variety of fish and squid species and has flexible hunting tactics. The dusky dolphin is known for its remarkable acrobatics, having a number of aerial behaviors. The status of the dolphin is unknown but it has been commonly caught in gill nets.
It is commonly thought that the dusky dolphin was first described by John Edward Gray in 1828 from stuffed skin and a single skull shipped from the Cape of Good Hope to the British Museum. Gray first described the species as Delphinus obscurus, with the subgenus Grampus in his 1828 Specilegia Zoologica. Gray reported that the animal was captured
Fringe-lipped bats (Trachops cirrhosus) are flying mammals that have no known fossils. Trachops cirrhosus has three subspecies currently known today. They range from southern Mexico to Bolivia and southern Brazil. The species is monotypic within its genus.
The fringe-lipped bat has wart-like bumps on its lips and muzzle, which give it its name. The bat has an overall color of a reddish brown with gray on its belly. The fur is long and woolly. It is medium in size, about 32 grams.
The tail is short. It has a nose-leaf with serrated edges. It has two pairs of lower incisors with three pairs of lower premolars. The molars have tubercular depressions with w-shaped cusps. The rostrum is shorter than the braincase but equal to the width of the braincase. It has a low wing-aspect ratio and high wing loading.
Fringe-lipped bats generally mate during the dry season in the tropics, usually from January to June. There is no real difference in appearance between the male and the female. They give birth to one offspring at a time. The young can stay with the parents for a considerable amount of time.)
Their preferred habitat is near ponds or streams. They roost in trees or hollow logs and
Geoffroy's tailless bat (Anoura geoffroyi) is a species of phyllostomid bat from the American tropics.
Geoffroy's tailless bat is a medium-sized bat, measuring around 7 centimetres (2.8 in) in total length and weighing 10 to 15 grams (0.35 to 0.53 oz). It has dark to dull brown fur over much of the body, with greyish-brown underparts and silvery-grey fur on the neck and shoulders. The wings are black or very dark brown, while the membrane between the legs is relatively small and covered in hair. As its name suggests, the bat does not possess a tail. It has a long muzzle, a projecting lower jaw, and short rounded ears. The tongue is long and narrow, with a pointed tip that is covered with fine papillae that help to draw up nectar when it feeds.
Males and females do not vary much in size in Brazil, but in Trinidad, another area Anoura geoffroyi lives in, the females are reported to have slightly longer forearms than the males.
Geoffroy's tailless bat is found from northern Mexico, through much of Central America, across northern South America, and through Peru to parts of Bolivia and Brazil immediately south of the Amazon Basin. It has also been reported from both Trinidad and
Under the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN), Rosidae is a botanical name at the rank of subclass. Circumscription of the subclass will vary with the taxonomic system being used; the only requirement being that it includes the family Rosaceae.
Under Phylocode, Rosidae is a clade defined as the most inclusive crown clade containing Rosa cinnamomea, but not Berberidopsis corallina nor Dillenia indica nor Gunnera manicata nor Helianthus annuus nor Saxifraga mertensiana nor Stellaria media nor Viscum album.
A well-known example of Rosidae as governed by the ICBN is in the Cronquist system. In the 1981, original, version of that system, the circumscription was as follows.
The Phylocode definition includes Crossosomatales, Geraniales, Myrtales, Fabidae (Celastrales, Cucurbitales, Fabales, Fagales, Huaceae, Oxalidales, Malpighiales, Rosales and Zygophyllales), Malvidae (Brassicales, Huerteales, Malvales, and Sapindales) as they are defined in the APG III system. This definition was formulated in 2007, and is agnostic on the inclusion or exclusion of Picramniales and Vitales. Since 2007, the phylogenetic positions of Picramniales and Vitales have been clarified. The
Homo erectus (meaning "upright man," from the Latin ērĭgĕre, "to put up, set upright") is an extinct species of hominid that lived from the end of the Pliocene epoch to the later Pleistocene, with the earliest first fossil evidence dating to around 1.8 million years ago and the most recent to around 300,000 years ago. The species originated in Africa and spread as far as India, China and Java.
There is still disagreement on the subject of the classification, ancestry, and progeny of H. erectus, with two major alternative classifications: erectus may be another name for Homo ergaster, and therefore the direct ancestor of later hominids such as Homo heidelbergensis, Homo neanderthalensis, and Homo sapiens; or it may be an Asian species distinct from African ergaster.
Some paleoanthropologists consider H. ergaster to be simply the African variety of H. erectus, this leads to the use of the term "Homo erectus sensu stricto" for the Asian H. Erectus, and "Homo erectus sensu lato" for the larger species comprising both the early African populations (H. ergaster) and the Asian populations.
The first theory is that H. erectus migrated from Africa during the Early Pleistocene, possibly as a
The tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest cat species, reaching a total body length of up to 3.3 metres (11 ft) and weighing up to 306 kg (670 lb). It is the third largest land carnivore (behind only the Polar bear and the Brown bear). Its most recognizable feature is a pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with lighter underparts. It has exceptionally stout teeth, and the canines are the longest among living felids with a crown height of as much as 74.5 mm (2.93 in) or even 90 mm (3.5 in). In zoos, tigers have lived for 20 to 26 years, which also seems to be their longevity in the wild. They are territorial and generally solitary but social animals, often requiring large contiguous areas of habitat that support their prey requirements. This, coupled with the fact that they are indigenous to some of the more densely populated places on Earth, has caused significant conflicts with humans.
Tigers once ranged widely across Asia, from Turkey in the west to the eastern coast of Russia. Over the past 100 years, they have lost 93% of their historic range, and have been extirpated from southwest and central Asia, from the islands of Java and Bali, and from large areas of
Chromalveolata is a eukaryote supergroup first proposed by Thomas Cavalier-Smith as a refinement of his kingdom Chromista, which was first put forward in 1981. Chromalveolata was proposed to represent the result of a single secondary endosymbiosis between a line descending from a bikont and a red alga that became the progenitor of chlorophyll c containing plastids. In a major classification produced in 2005, Chromalveolata was regarded as one of the six major groups within the eukaryotes.
However the monophyly of the Chromalveolata has been increasingly challenged. Thus two papers published in 2008 have phylogenetic trees in which the chromalveolates are split up, and recent studies continue to support this view.
Historically, many chromalveolates were considered plants, because of their cell walls, photosynthetic ability, and in some cases their morphological resemblance to the land plants (Embryophyta). However, when the five-kingdom system took prevalence over the animal–plant dichotomy, most chromalveolates were put into the kingdom Protista, with the water molds and slime nets put into the kingdom Fungi, and the brown algae staying in the plant kingdom.
In 2005, in a
Eumetazoa (Greek: εὖ [eu], well + μετά [metá], after + ζῷον [zóon], animal) is a clade comprising all major animal groups except sponges, placozoa, and several other obscure or extinct life forms, such as Dickinsonia. Characteristics of eumetazoans include true tissues organized into germ layers, and an embryo that goes through a gastrula stage. The clade is usually held to contain at least Ctenophora, Cnidaria, and Bilateria. Whether mesozoans and placozoans belong is in dispute.
Some phylogenists have speculated the sponges and eumetazoans evolved separately from single-celled organisms, which would mean that the animal kingdom does not form a clade (a complete grouping of organisms descended from a common ancestor). However, genetic studies and some morphological characteristics, like the common presence of choanocytes, support a common origin.
Eumetazoans are a major group of animals in the Five Kingdoms classification of Lynn Margulis and K. V. Schwartz, comprising the Radiata and Bilateria — all animals except the sponges, placozoans and mesozoans. When treated as a formal taxon Eumetazoa is typically ranked as a subkingdom. The name Metazoa has also been used to refer to
The octopus ( /ˈɒktəpʊs/; plural: octopuses, octopi, or octopodes; see below) is a cephalopod mollusc of the order Octopoda. Octopuses have two eyes and four pairs of arms and, like other cephalopods, they are bilaterally symmetric. An octopus has a hard beak, with its mouth at the center point of the arms. Octopuses have no internal or external skeleton (although some species have a vestigial remnant of a shell inside their mantles), allowing them to squeeze through tight places. Octopuses are among the most intelligent and behaviorally flexible of all invertebrates.
The octopus inhabits many diverse regions of the ocean, including coral reefs, pelagic waters, and the ocean floor. They have numerous strategies for defending themselves against predators, including the expulsion of ink, the use of camouflage and deimatic displays, their ability to jet quickly through the water, and their ability to hide. An octopus trails its eight arms behind it as it swims. All octopuses are venomous, but only one group, the blue-ringed octopuses, is known to be deadly to humans.
Around 300 species are recognized, which is over one-third of the total number of known cephalopod species. The term
The pampas fox (Lycalopex gymnocercus), also known as Azara's fox, or Azara's zorro, is a medium sized zorro, or "false" fox, native to the South American pampas. The alternative common names are references to Spanish naturalist Félix de Azara.
The pampas fox resembles the culpeo or Andean fox in appearance and size, but has a proportionately wider snout, reddish fur on the head and neck, and a black mark on the muzzle. It has short, dense fur that is grey over most of the body, with a black line running down the back and onto the tail, and pale, almost white, underparts. The ears are triangular, broad and relatively large, and are reddish on the outer surface and white on the inner surface. The inner surfaces of the legs are similar in color to the underparts, while the outer surface is reddish on the forelimbs, and grey on the hindlimbs; the lower hindlimb also bears a distinctive black spot. Adults range from 51 to 80 centimetres (20 to 31 in) in body length, and weigh 2.4 to 8 kilograms (5.3 to 18 lb); males are approximately 10% heavier than females.
In the northern part of its range, the pampas fox is more richly colored than in the southern part.
The pampas fox can be found
River dolphins are the four living species of dolphin that reside in freshwater rivers and estuaries. River dolphins inhabit areas of Asia and South America. They are classed in the Platanistoidea superfamily of cetaceans. Three species live in fresh water rivers. The fourth species, the La Plata dolphin, lives in saltwater estuaries and near-shore marine environments. However, it is scientifically classed in the river dolphin group rather than the oceanic dolphin family.
The largest river dolphins usually grow up to 2.4 meters (8 feet) long, but most of the animals are smaller. River dolphins may be white, pink, yellow, brown, gray, or black.
The four families of river dolphins are classified by Rice, 1998 as belonging to the superfamily Platanistoidea. Formerly, Platanistidae was listed as the only extant family of the Platanistoidea superfamily. The previously accepted classification treated all four families as belonging to this family and treated the Ganges and Indus River dolphins as separate species.
Five lineages of dolphin have evolved to live in big, muddy rivers. River dolphins are thought to have relictual distributions. Their ancestors originally occupied marine
Rorquals ( /ˈrɔrkwəl/) (family Balaenopteridae) are the largest group of baleen whales, with nine species in two genera. They include the largest animal that has ever lived, the blue whale, which can reach 150 tonnes (170 short tons), and another that reaches 70 tonnes (77 short tons); even the smallest of the group, the northern minke whale, reaches 9 tonnes (9.9 short tons).
Rorquals take their name from French rorqual, which itself derives from the Norwegian word røyrkval, meaning "furrow whale". All members of the family have a series of longitudinal folds of skin running from below the mouth back to the navel (except the Sei Whale, which has shorter grooves). These are understood to allow the mouth to expand immensely when feeding, "permitting them to engorge great mouthfuls of food and water in a single gulp." These "pleated throat grooves" distinguish balaenopterids from other whales.
Rorquals are slender and streamlined in shape, compared with their relatives the right whales, and most have narrow, elongated flippers. They have a dorsal fin, situated far back on the body, near to the tail. Rorquals feed by gulping in water, and then pushing it out through the baleen plates
The genus Urocyon (from the Greek word for 'tailed dog') is a genus that contains two (or possibly three) living Western Hemisphere foxes in the family Canidae, the Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) and the closely related Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis) which is a dwarf cousin of the Gray Fox; as well as one fossil species, Urocyon progressus.
Urocyon and the Raccoon Dog are the only canids able to climb trees. Urocyon is one of the oldest fox genera still in existence. A third species, apparently close to extinction or even already extinct, is (or was, until recently) found on the island of Cozumel, Mexico. The Cozumel Fox, which has not been scientifically described to date, is a dwarf form like the Island Fox but a bit larger, being up to three-quarters the size of the Gray Fox.
Canis is a genus containing 7 to 10 extant species, including dogs, wolves, coyotes, and jackals, and many extinct species.
Wolves, dogs, and dingoes are subspecies of Canis lupus. The original referent of the English word wolf, the Eurasian Grey Wolf, is called Canis lupus lupus to distinguish it from other wolf subspecies, such as the Indian Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes), the Arabian Wolf (Canis lupus arabs), or the Tibetan Wolf (Canis lupus chanco), which are probably more similar to the variety of wolf that was ancestral to the modern dog (Canis lupus familiaris).
Some experts have suggested that some subspecies of C. lupus be considered Canis species distinct from Canis lupus. These include Central Asia's Himalayan Wolf, and the Indian Wolf, as well as the North America's Red Wolf and Eastern Wolf.
The dingo (C. lupus dingo), from Australia, and the domestic dog (C. lupus familiaris) are also considered subspecies of Canis lupus, although they themselves are not commonly referred to or thought of as "wolves".
C. lupus is but one of many Canis species called "wolves", most of which are now extinct and little known to the general public. One of these, however, the dire wolf, has
The land plants or embryophytes, more formally Embryophyta or Metaphyta, are the most familiar group of plants. They are called "land plants" because they live primarily in terrestrial habitats, in contrast with the related green algae that are primarily aquatic. The embryophytes include trees, flowers, ferns, mosses, and various other green land plants. All are complex multicellular eukaryotes with specialized reproductive organs. The name derives from their characteristic of nurturing the young embryo sporophyte during the early stages of its multicellular development within the tissues of the parent gametophyte. With very few exceptions, embryophytes obtain their energy through photosynthesis (that is, by absorbing light) and they synthesize their food from carbon dioxide.
The evolutionary origins of the embryophytes are discussed further below, but they are believed to have evolved from within a group of complex green algae during the Paleozoic era (which started around 540 million years ago). The Charales or stoneworts appear to be the best living illustration of that developmental step. Embryophytes are primarily adapted for life on land, although some are secondarily
The horse (Equus ferus caballus) is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is an odd-toed ungulate mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today. Humans began to domesticate horses around 4000 BC, and their domestication is believed to have been widespread by 3000 BC. Horses in the subspecies caballus are domesticated, although some domesticated populations live in the wild as feral horses. These feral populations are not true wild horses, as this term is used to describe horses that have never been domesticated, such as the endangered Przewalski's horse, a separate subspecies, and the only remaining true wild horse. There is an extensive, specialized vocabulary used to describe equine-related concepts, covering everything from anatomy to life stages, size, colors, markings, breeds, locomotion, and behavior.
Horses' anatomy enables them to make use of speed to escape predators and they have a well-developed sense of balance and a strong fight-or-flight instinct. Related to this need to flee from predators in the wild
A primate (/ˈpraɪmeɪt/ PRY-mayt) is a mammal of the order Primates (/praɪˈmeɪtiːz/ pry-MAY-teez; Latin: "prime, first rank"), which contains prosimians and simians. Primates arose from ancestors that lived in the trees of tropical forests, and many primate characteristics represent adaptations to life in this challenging environment. All but a few primate species remain at least partly arboreal.
With the exception of humans, who inhabit every continent, most primates live in tropical or subtropical regions of the Americas, Africa and Asia. They range in size from Madame Berthe's mouse lemur, which weighs only 30 grams (1 oz), to the eastern lowland gorilla, weighing over 200 kilograms (440 lb). According to fossil evidence, the primitive ancestors of primates may have existed in the late Cretaceous period around 65 million years ago; the oldest known primate is the Late Paleocene Plesiadapis, circa 55–58 million years ago. Molecular clock studies suggest the primate branch may be even older, originating in the mid-Cretaceous period around 85 mya.
Order Primates has traditionally been divided into two main groupings: prosimians and anthropoids (simians). Prosimians have
Toxodon is an extinct mammal of the late Pliocene and Pleistocene epochs about 2.6 million to 16,500 years ago. It was indigenous to South America, and was probably the most common large-hoofed mammal in South America at the time of its existence.
Charles Darwin was one of the first to collect Toxodon fossils, after paying 18 pence for a T. platensis skull from a farmer in Uruguay. In The Voyage of the Beagle Darwin wrote "November 26th - I set out on my return in a direct line for Monte Video. Having heard of some giant's bones at a neighbouring farmhouse on the Sarandis, a small stream entering the Rio Negro, I rode there accompanied by my host, and purchased for the value of eighteen pence the head of an animal equalling in size that of the hippopotamus. Mr Owen in a paper read before the Geological Society, has called this very extraordinary animal, Toxodon, from the curvature of its teeth." Since Darwin discovered that the fossils of similar mammals of South America were different than those in Europe, he invoked many debates about the evolution and natural selection of animals.
Toxodon was about 2.7 metres (8.9 ft) in body length, with an estimated weight up to 1500 kg and
Tyrannosauridae (or tyrannosaurids, meaning "tyrant lizards") is a family of coelurosaurian theropod dinosaurs which comprises two subfamilies containing up to six genera, including the eponymous Tyrannosaurus. The exact number of genera is controversial, with some experts recognizing as few as three. All of these animals lived near the end of the Cretaceous Period and their fossils have been found only in North America and Asia.
Although descended from smaller ancestors, tyrannosaurids were almost always the largest predators in their respective ecosystems, putting them at the apex of the food chain. The largest species was Tyrannosaurus rex, one of the largest known land predators, which measured up to 13 metres (43 ft) in length and up to 6.8 tonnes (7.5 short tons) in weight. Tyrannosaurids were bipedal carnivores with massive skulls filled with large teeth. Despite their large size, their legs were long and proportioned for fast movement. In contrast, their arms were very small, bearing only two functional digits.
Unlike most other groups of dinosaurs, very complete remains have been discovered for most known tyrannosaurids. This has allowed a variety of research
The domestic cat (Felis catus or Felis silvestris catus) is a small, usually furry, domesticated, carnivorous mammal. It is often called the housecat when kept as an indoor pet, or simply the cat when there is no need to distinguish it from other felids and felines. Cats are valued by humans for companionship and ability to hunt vermin and household pests.
Cats are similar in anatomy to the other felids, with strong, flexible bodies, quick reflexes, sharp retractable claws, and teeth adapted to killing small prey. Cat senses fit a crepuscular and predatory ecological niche. Cats can hear sounds too faint or too high in frequency for human ears, such as those made by mice and other small game. They can see in near darkness. Like most mammals, cats have poorer color vision and a better sense of smell than humans.
Despite being solitary hunters, cats are a social species, and cat communication includes the use of a variety of vocalizations (meowing, purring, trilling, hissing, growling and grunting) as well as pheromones and types of cat-specific body language.
Cats have a rapid breeding rate. Under controlled breeding, they can be bred and shown as registered pedigree pets, a hobby
The dingo is a free-roaming wild dog unique to the continent of Australia, mainly found in the outback. Its original ancestors are thought to have arrived with one of the waves of human settlement thousands of years ago, when dogs were still relatively undomesticated and closer to their wild Asian grey wolf parent species, Canis lupus. Since then, living largely apart from people and other dogs, together with the demands of Australian ecology, has caused them to develop features and instincts that distinguish them from all other canines. Dingoes have maintained ancient characteristics that unite them, along with their closest relatives from Southeast Asia and the Pacific, into a taxon named after them, Canis lupus dingo, which separate them from dogs classified as Canis lupus familiaris. A dingo's natural habitat can range from deserts, to grasslands and on the verge of forests. They cannot live too far away from water and they normally settle their homes in dens, deserted rabbit holes, and hollow logs.
Dingoes play an important role in Australia's ecosystems; they are apex predators and the continent's largest terrestrial predator. Because of their attacks on livestock, dingoes
Plasmodium is a genus of Apicomplexan parasites. Infection by these organisms is known as malaria. The genus Plasmodium was described in 1885 by Ettore Marchiafava and Angelo Celli. Currently over 200 species of this genus are recognized and new species continue to be described.
Of the over 200 known species of Plasmodium, at least 11 species infect humans. Other species infect other animals, including monkeys, rodents, birds, and reptiles. The parasite always has two hosts in its life cycle: a vector—usually a mosquito—and a vertebrate host.
The organism itself was first seen by Laveran on November 6, 1880 at a military hospital in Constantine, Algeria, when he discovered a microgametocyte exflagellating. In 1885, similar organisms were discovered within the blood of birds in Russia. There was brief speculation that birds might be involved in the transmission of malaria; in 1894 Patrick Manson hypothesized that mosquitoes could transmit malaria. This hypothesis was independently confirmed by the Italian physician Giovanni Battista Grassi working in Italy and the British physician Ronald Ross working in India, both in 1898. Ross demonstrated the existence of Plasmodium in the wall
The spermatophytes (from the Greek word "Σπερματόφυτα") (also known as phanerogams) comprise those plants that produce seeds. They are a subset of the embryophytes or land plants.
The living spermatophytes form five groups:
In addition to the taxa listed above, the fossil record contains evidence of many extinct taxa of seed plants. The so-called "seed ferns" (Pteridospermae) were one of the earliest successful groups of land plants, and forests dominated by seed ferns were prevalent in the late Paleozoic. Glossopteris was the most prominent tree genus in the ancient southern supercontinent of Gondwana during the Permian period. By the Triassic period, seed ferns had declined in ecological importance, and representatives of modern gymnosperm groups were abundant and dominant through the end of the Cretaceous, when angiosperms radiated. Another Late Paleozoic group of probable spermatophytes were the gigantopterids.
A whole genome duplication event in the ancestor of seed plants occurred about 319 million years ago. This gave rise a series of changes that resulted in the evolution of seed plants.
A middle Devonian precursor to seed plants from Belgium has been identified predating
Apocrita is a suborder of insects in the order Hymenoptera.
Apocrita includes wasps, bees and ants, and consists of many families. It includes the most advanced hymenopterans and is distinguished from Symphyta by the narrow "waist" (petiole) formed between the first two segments of the actual abdomen; the first abdominal segment is fused to the thorax, and is called the propodeum. Therefore, it is general practice, when discussing the body of an apocritan in a technical sense, to refer to the mesosoma and metasoma (or "gaster") rather than the "thorax" and "abdomen", respectively. The ovipositor of the female either extends freely or is retracted, and may be developed into a sting for both defense and paralyzing prey. Larvae are legless and blind, and either feed inside a host (plant or animal) or in a nest cell provisioned by their mother.
Apocrita has historically been split into two groups, "Parasitica" and Aculeata, but these are rankless groupings in present classifications, if they appear at all. Parasitica is an artificial (paraphyletic) group comprising the majority of hymenopteran insects, with respective members living as parasitoids on what amounts to nearly "every other
Birds (class Aves) are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic (warm-blooded), egg-laying, vertebrate animals. With around 10,000 living species, they are the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. All present species belong to the subclass Neornithes, and inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from the 5 cm (2 in) Bee Hummingbird to the 2.75 m (9 ft) Ostrich. The fossil record indicates that birds emerged within theropod dinosaurs during the Jurassic period, around 160 million years (Ma) ago. Paleontologists regard birds as the only clade of dinosaurs to have survived the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 65.5 Ma (million years) ago.
Modern birds are characterised by feathers, a beak with no teeth, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, and a lightweight but strong skeleton. All living species of birds have wings—the now extinct flightless moa of New Zealand being the only exception. Wings are evolved forelimbs, and most bird species can fly. Flightless birds include ratites, penguins, and a number of diverse endemic island species. Birds also have unique digestive and
The baiji (Chinese: 白鱀豚; pinyin: báijìtún (help·info)) (Lipotes vexillifer, Lipotes meaning "left behind", vexillifer "flag bearer") was a freshwater dolphin found only in the Yangtze River in China. Nicknamed "Goddess of the Yangtze" (simplified Chinese: 长江女神; traditional Chinese: 長江女神; pinyin: Cháng Jiāng nǚshén) in China, the dolphin is also called Chinese river dolphin, Yangtze River dolphin, whitefin dolphin and Yangtze dolphin. It is not to be confused with the Chinese white dolphin.
The baiji population declined drastically in decades as China industrialized and made heavy use of the river for fishing, transportation, and hydroelectricity. Efforts were made to conserve the species, but a late 2006 expedition failed to find any baiji in the river. Organizers declared the baiji functionally extinct, which would make it the first aquatic mammal species to become extinct since the demise of the Japanese sea lion and the Caribbean monk seal in the 1950s. It would also be the first recorded extinction of a well-studied cetacean species (it is unclear if some previously extinct varieties were species or subspecies) to be directly attributable to human influence.
In August 2007, a
The corsac fox (Vulpes corsac), also known as the steppe fox, is a medium-sized Asiatic fox species found throughout the central steppes of Asia. It is sometimes referred to as the "sand fox", but this terminology is confusing because two other species, the Tibetan sand fox and Rüppell's fox are also sometimes known by this name. The corsac fox is threatened by hunting for the fur trade.
The corsac fox is a medium-sized fox, with a head and body length of 45 to 65 centimetres (18 to 26 in), and a tail 19 to 35 centimetres (7.5 to 14 in) long. Adults weigh from 1.6 to 3.2 kilograms (3.5 to 7.1 lb). It has grey to yellowish fur over much of the body, with paler underparts and pale markings on the mouth, chin, and throat. During the winter, the coat becomes much thicker and more silky in texture, and is straw-grey in colour, with a darker line running down the back.
For a fox, it has small teeth and a wide skull. It has hooked claws and can climb trees. It is reported to have keen eyesight and hearing and an acute sense of smell. It has a number of scent glands, some of which produce pungent odours, although not as extreme as those found in some other Vulpes species. The glands are
Euarchontoglires (synonymous with Supraprimates) is a clade (superorder) of mammals, the living members of which are rodents, lagomorphs, treeshrews, colugos and primates (including humans).
The Euarchontoglires clade is based on DNA sequence analyses and retrotransposon presence/absence data, combining the Glires clade, which consists of Rodentia and Lagomorpha, with that of Euarchonta, a clade consisting of Scandentia, Primates (which includes humans) and Dermoptera.
Euarchontoglires is now recognized as one of four major groups within Eutheria (containing placental mammals). These four clades are usually discussed without a Linnaean rank, but has been assigned the rank of cohort or magnorder, and superorder. Relations within the four cohorts, Euarchontoglires, Xenarthra, Laurasiatheria, and Afrotheria, and the identity of the placental root, remain somewhat controversial.
Euarchontoglires probably split from the Laurasiatheria sister group about 85 to 95 million years ago during the Cretaceous, developing in the Laurasian island group which would later become Europe. This hypothesis is supported by fossil as well as molecular evidence. The clade of Euarchontoglires and
The fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus), also called the finback whale, razorback, or common rorqual, is a marine mammal belonging to the suborder of baleen whales. It is the second longest animal in the world and second largest rorqual after the blue whale, growing to over 27 metres (89 ft) long and weighing nearly 74 tonnes (73 long tons; 82 short tons). The American naturalist Roy Chapman Andrews called the fin whale "the greyhound of the sea... for its beautiful, slender body is built like a racing yacht and the animal can surpass the speed of the fastest ocean steamship."
Long and slender, the fin whale's body is brownish-grey with a paler underside. There are at least two recognized subspecies: the fin whale of the North Atlantic, and the fin whale of the Southern Hemisphere. It is found in all the world's major oceans, from polar to tropical waters. It is absent only from waters close to the ice pack at both the north and south poles and relatively small areas of water away from the open ocean. The highest population density occurs in temperate and cool waters. Its food consists of small schooling fish, squid, and crustaceans including copepods and krill.
Like all other large
The golden-bellied capuchin (Sapajus xanthosternos), also known as the yellow-breasted or buffy-headed capuchin, is one of several species of New World monkeys.
Although there are differences between individuals as well as between the sexes and across age groups, C. xanthosternos is described as having a distinctive yellow to golden red chest, belly and upper arms. Its face is a light brown and its cap for which the capuchins were first named is a dark brown/black or light brown. Formerly thought to be a subspecies of tufted capuchin (C. apella), it was elevated to the status of species. Despite this previous classification, C. xanthosternos does not have very evident tufts, as they are oriented towards the rear of the skull and are hardly noticeable. A band of short hair around the upper part of the face with speckled colouring contrasts with the darker surrounding areas. The limbs and tail are also darkly coloured.
Populations of C. xanthosternos are restricted to the Atlantic forest of south-eastern Bahia, Brazil, due possibly to high degrees of interference from man. Historically they probably would have inhabited the entire area east of, and north to, the Rio São
The Guianan Toucanet, or Guyana Toucanet (Selenidera culik) is a species of bird in the Ramphastidae family. Pacheco & Whitney (2006) suggested the correct scientific name was Selenidera piperivora, but, as shown by Walters (2007), this name is pre-occupied. It is found in north-western Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela. Its natural habitat is tropical humid lowland forests. It is 25 cm (10 in) long weighs 110-165 grams (3.9-5.8 oz.)
The Guianan Toucanet is sometimes kept in aviculture as a breeder bird or a pet.
Mustelidae (from Latin mustela, weasel), commonly referred to as the weasel family, is a family of carnivorous mammals. Mustelids are diverse and the largest family in the order Carnivora, at least partly because in the past it has been a catch-all category for many early or poorly differentiated taxa. The internal classification seems to be still quite unsettled, with rival proposals containing between two and eight subfamilies. One study published in 2008 questions the long-accepted Mustelinae subfamily, and suggests Mustelidae consists of four major clades and three much smaller lineages.
In general, the Mustelidae is phylogenetically relatively primitive, so was difficult to classify until genetic evidence became available. The increasing availability of such evidence may well result in some members of the family being moved to their own separate families, as has already happened with the skunks.
Mustelids vary greatly in size and behaviour. The least weasel is not much larger than a mouse, while the giant otter can measure up to 2.4 metres (7.9 ft) in length and sea otters can exceed 45 kilograms (99 lb). The wolverine can crush bones as thick as the femur of a moose to get at
Panthera is a genus of the family Felidae (cats), which contains four well-known living species: the tiger, the lion, the jaguar, and the leopard. The genus comprises about half of the Pantherinae subfamily, the big cats. The word panther, while technically referring to all members of the genus, is commonly used to specifically designate the black panther, a melanistic jaguar or leopard, and the Florida panther, a subspecies of cougar (Puma concolor coryi).
Only the four Panthera cat species have the anatomical structure that enables them to roar. The primary reason for this was formerly assumed to be the incomplete ossification of the hyoid bone. However, new studies show that the ability to roar is due to other morphological features, especially of the larynx. The snow leopard, Uncia uncia, which is sometimes included within Panthera, does not roar. Although it has an incomplete ossification of the hyoid bone, it lacks the special morphology of the larynx.
However, due to more recent genetic studies, the snow leopard is now becoming more generally considered as Panthera uncia and is presently classified as such by IUCN.
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the origin of
The order Pinales in the division Pinophyta, class Pinopsida comprises all the extant conifers. This order was formerly known as the Coniferales.
The distinguishing characteristic is the reproductive structure known as a cone produced by all Pinales. All of the extant conifers, such as cedar, celery-pine, cypress, fir, juniper, larch, pine, redwood, spruce, and yew are included here. Some fossil conifers, however, belong to other distinct orders within the division Pinophyta.
The yews have previously been separated into a distinct order of their own (Taxales), but genetic evidence indicates yews are monophyletic with other conifers and they are now included in the Pinales. However, the evidence for these facts is vague, therefore it was probably a controversy over time.
The families included are Araucariaceae, Cephalotaxaceae, Cupressaceae, Pinaceae, Podocarpaceae, Sciadopityaceae, and Taxaceae.
The white-eared titi (Callicebus donacophilus), also known as the Bolivian titi or Bolivian gray titi, is a species of titi, a type of New World monkey, from eastern Bolivia and a small area of Brazil. The species has a range that extends east from the Manique River in Beni Department, Bolivia to southern Rondônia in Brazil. Its southern range includes forests around the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
It is a medium-sized monkey with a grey back, orange underside and distinctive white ear tufts. It has an omnivorous diet, eating fruits, other plant materials and invertebrates. It is predated upon primarily by raptors, though felids and other monkey species have been known to attack the species. It is a monogamous species and lives in small groups of two to seven individuals consisting of the pair and their offspring. The species maintains a home range of 1.5 to 3 kilometres (0.93 to 1.9 mi) and has a complex vocal repertoire to maintain their territory. It is also known for its characteristic entwining of tails when groups are sitting together. White-eared titis live for more than 25 years.
The white-eared titi population has a declining trend. The decline is believed to be
The superorder Xenarthra is a group of placental mammals (infraclass Eutheria), extant today only in the Americas and represented by anteaters, tree sloths, and armadillos. The origins of the order can be traced back as far as the Paleogene (about 60–65 Ma, shortly after the Mesozoic) in South America. Xenarthrans developed and diversified extensively in South America during its long period of isolation, invaded the Antilles by the early Miocene, and then spread to Central and North America starting about nine million years ago, as part of the Great American Interchange. Nearly all of the formerly abundant megafaunal xenarthrans, such as ground sloths, glyptodonts, and pampatheres went extinct at the end of the Pleistocene.
Xenarthrans share several distinctions from those of other placental mammals. The name Xenarthra means "strange joints", and was chosen because their vertebral joints have extra articulations and are unlike those of any other mammals. The males have internal testicles, which are placed between the bladder and the rectum. Also, xenarthrans have the lowest metabolic rates among the therians.
Xenarthrans were classified in the past together with the pangolins and
The South American gray fox (Lycalopex griseus), also known as the Patagonian fox, the chilla, or the grey zorro, is a species of zorro, the "false" foxes.
The South American gray fox is found in the Southern Cone of South America, particularly in Argentina and Chile. Its range comprises a stripe, both sides of the Andes Mountain Range between parallels 17ºS (northernmost Chile) and 54ºS (Tierra del Fuego).
In Argentina, this species inhabits the western semiarid region of the country, from the Andean spurs (ca. 69ºW) to meridian 66ºW. South from the Río Grande river, the distribution of the fox widens reaching the Atlantic coast. In Chile, it is present throughout the country. Its presence in Peru has been mentioned; to date, however, there has been no confirmation of it. The South American gray fox was introduced to the Falkland Islands in the late 1920s early 1930s and is still present in quite large numbers on Beaver and Weddell Islands plus several smaller islands.
The South American gray fox occurs in a variety of habitats, from the warm, arid scrublands of the Argentine Monte and the cold, arid Patagonian steppe to the forest of southernmost Chile.
The South American gray
Caninae is the only living subfamily of Canidae. Many extinct species of Caninae were endemic to North America, living from 34 Mya—11,000 years ago. Some members of the endemic North American canines survived to the present time. This subfamily was recently revised by Tedford, Wang, and Taylor (2009). More basal canids are placed in the extinct subfamilies Hesperocyoninae and Borophaginae.
The term crested penguin is the name given to several species of penguin of the genus Eudyptes. The exact number varies between four and seven depending on the authority, and a Chatham Islands species may have become extinct in the 19th century. All are black and white penguins with yellow crests and red bills and eyes, and are found on subantarctic islands in the worlds southern oceans. All lay two eggs but raise only one young per breeding season; the first egg laid is substantially smaller than the second.
The genus was described by the French ornithologist Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot in 1816; the name is derived from the Ancient Greek words eu "good", and dyptes "diver".
Six extant species have been classically recognised, with the recent splitting of the Rockhopper Penguin increasing it to seven. Conversely, the close relationship of the Macaroni and Royal Penguins, and the Erect-crested and Snares Penguins have led some to propose the two pairs should be regarded as species.
The Chatham Islands form is known only from subfossil bones, but may have become extinct as recently as the late 19th century as a bird kept captive at some time between 1867 and 1872
The lion (Panthera leo) is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg (550 lb) in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger. Wild lions currently exist in sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia, with an endangered remnant population in Gir Forest National Park in India, having disappeared from North Africa and Southwest Asia in historic times. Until the late Pleistocene, about 10,000 years ago, the lion was the most widespread large land mammal after humans. They were found in most of Africa, across Eurasia from western Europe to India, and in the Americas from the Yukon to Peru. The lion is a vulnerable species, having seen a major population decline of 30–50% over the past two decades in its African range. Lion populations are untenable outside designated reserves and national parks. Although the cause of the decline is not fully understood, habitat loss and conflicts with humans are currently the greatest causes of concern. Within Africa, the West African lion population is particularly endangered.
Lions live for 10–14 years in the wild, while in captivity they can live longer than 20 years. In
The Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) is a penguin-type, which can be found on the sub-Antarctic islands in the Australian region (Macquarie Island and adjacent islands). It is one of the species of crested penguins. There is no distinction among the subspecies on the Penguin canopy, but they should not be confused with the similarly named King Penguin or Emperor Penguin. The IUCN classifies the Royal penguin as vulnerable. The scientific name commemorates the German zoologist Hermann Schlegel.
There is some controversy over whether Royal Penguins are a sub-species of Macaroni Penguins. Individuals of the two groups have been known to interbreed, though this is a relatively rare occurrence. Indeed, other penguins have been known to form mixed-species pairs in the wild.
They inhabit the waters surrounding Antarctica. Royals look very much like Macaroni Penguins, but have a white face and chin instead of the Macaronis' black visage. They are 65–76 cm (26–30 in) long and weigh 3–8 kg (6.6–18 lb). Males are larger than females. Royal Penguins breed only on Macquarie Island and, like other penguins, spend much of their time at sea, where they are assumed to be pelagic.
The Sardinian Dhole Cynotherium sardous was an endemic insular canid, that occurred on the Italian island of Sardinia and the French island of Corsica (the two were joined for much of the Pleistocene). It became extinct when humans began to settle on the island.
When this canid became confined to the island, it faced a menu consisting of small and fast prey only. It adapted into a small sized canid.
It appears that Xenocyon is the ancestor of Cynotherium. Sometimes it is also considered a derivation from a population of late Canis arnensis (or Canis mosbachensis).
Tyrannosauroidea (meaning 'tyrant lizard forms') is a superfamily (or clade) of coelurosaurian theropod dinosaurs that includes the family Tyrannosauridae as well as more basal relatives. Tyrannosauroids lived on the Laurasian supercontinent beginning in the Jurassic Period. By the end of the Cretaceous Period, tyrannosauroids were the dominant large predators in the Northern Hemisphere, culminating in the gigantic Tyrannosaurus itself. Fossils of tyrannosauroids have been recovered on what are now the continents of North America, Europe, Asia, and possibly Australia.
Tyrannosauroids were bipedal carnivores, as were most theropods, and were characterized by numerous skeletal features, especially of the skull and pelvis. Early in their existence, tyrannosauroids were small predators with long, three-fingered forelimbs. Late Cretaceous genera became much larger, including some of the largest land-based predators ever to exist, but most of these later genera had proportionately small forelimbs with only two digits. Primitive feathers have been identified in fossils of two species, and may have been present in other tyrannosauroids as well. Prominent bony crests in a variety
An arthropod is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton (external skeleton), a segmented body, and jointed appendages. Arthropods are members of the phylum Arthropoda (from Greek ἄρθρον árthron, "joint", and ποδός podós "leg", which together mean "jointed leg"), and include the insects, arachnids, and crustaceans. Arthropods are characterized by their jointed limbs and cuticles, which are mainly made of α-chitin; the cuticles of crustaceans are also biomineralized with calcium carbonate. The rigid cuticle inhibits growth, so arthropods replace it periodically by moulting. The arthropod body plan consists of repeated segments, each with a pair of appendages. They are so versatile that they have been compared to Swiss Army knives, and it has enabled them to become the most species-rich members of all ecological guilds in most environments. They have over a million described species, making up more than 80% of all described living animal species, and are one of only two animal groups that are very successful in dry environments – the other being the amniotes. They range in size from microscopic plankton up to forms a few meters long.
Arthropods' primary internal cavity is a
The Sechuran fox (Lycalopex sechurae), also called the Peruvian desert fox or the Sechuran zorro, is a South American species of canid closely related to other South American "false" foxes or zorro, of which it is the smallest. It is found in the Sechura Desert in southwestern Ecuador and northwestern Peru.
The Sechuran fox is small for a canid, weighing 2.6 to 4.2 kilograms (5.7 to 9.3 lb), with a body length of 50 to 78 centimetres (20 to 31 in) and a tail of 27 to 34 centimetres (11 to 13 in). Its fur is gray agouti over most of the body, fading to white or cream coloured on the underparts. There are reddish brown markings on the backs of the ears, around the eyes, and on the legs. The muzzle is dark grey, and a grey band runs across the chest. Its tail is tipped with black. It has small teeth, adapted to feed on insects and dry plants, with fox-like canine teeth.
The chromosome number is unknown, but probably 2n=74.
First identified in the Sechura desert, the fox inhabits arid environments in southwestern Ecuador and western Peru, at elevations from sea level to at least 1,000 metres (3,300 ft), and possibly much higher. Within this region it has been reported from the western
Toucans are members of the family Ramphastidae of near passerine birds from the Neotropics. The Ramphastidae family is most closely related to the American barbets. They are brightly marked and have large, often colorful bills. The family includes five genera and about forty different species. The name of this bird group is derived from the Tupi word tukana, via Portuguese.
Toucans range in size from the Lettered Aracari (Pteroglossus inscriptus), at 130 g (4.6 oz) and 29 cm (11.5 inches), to the Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco), at 680 g (1.5 lb) and 63 cm (29 inches). Their bodies are short (of comparable size to a crow's) and compact. The tail is rounded and varies in length, from half the length to the whole length of the body. The neck is short and thick. The wings are small, as they are forest-dwelling birds who only need to travel short distances, and are often of about the same span as the bill-tip-to-tail-tip measurements of the bird.
The legs of the toucan are strong and rather short. Their toes are arranged in pairs with the first and fourth toes turned backward. The majority of toucans do not show any sexual dimorphism in their coloration, the genus Selenidera being the
The wild horse (Equus ferus) is a species of the genus Equus, which includes as subspecies the domesticated horse as well as the undomesticated Tarpan and Przewalski's horse. The Tarpan became extinct in the 19th century, and Przewalski's Horse was saved from the brink of extinction and reintroduced successfully to the wild. The possible ancestor of the domestic horse was the Tarpan, which roamed the steppes of Eurasia at the time of domestication. However, other subspecies of Equus ferus may have existed and could have been the stock from which domesticated horses are descended. Since the extinction of the Tarpan, attempts have been made to reconstruct the phenotype of the Tarpan, resulting in horse breeds such as the Konik and Heck horse. However, the genetic makeup and foundation bloodstock of those breeds is substantially derived from domesticated horses, and therefore these breeds possess domesticated traits.
The term "wild horse" is also used colloquially to refer to free roaming herds of feral horses such as the Mustang in the United States, the Brumby in Australia, and many others. These feral horses are untamed members of the domestic horse subspecies (Equus ferus
The bonobo ( /bəˈnoʊboʊ/ or /ˈbɒnəboʊ/), Pan paniscus, previously called the pygmy chimpanzee and less often, the dwarf or gracile chimpanzee, is a great ape and one of the two species making up the genus Pan; the other is Pan troglodytes, or the common chimpanzee. Although the name "chimpanzee" is sometimes used to refer to both species together, it is usually understood as referring to the common chimpanzee, while Pan paniscus is usually referred to as the bonobo.
It is distinguished by relatively long legs, pink lips, dark face and tail-tuft through adulthood, and parted long hair on its head. The bonobo is found in a 500,000 km (190,000 sq mi) area of the Congo Basin in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central Africa. The species is omnivorous and inhabits primary and secondary forests, including seasonally inundated swamp forests.
The bonobo is popularly known for its high levels of sexual behavior. Sex functions in conflict appeasement, affection, social status, excitement, and stress reduction. It occurs in virtually all partner combinations and in a variety of positions. This is a factor in the lower levels of aggression seen in the bonobo when compared to the common
Catarrhini is one of the two subdivisions of the higher primates (the other being the New World monkeys or platyrrhines). It contains the Old World monkeys and the apes; the latter of which are in turn further divided into the lesser apes or gibbons and the great apes, consisting of the orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and humans. They are all native to Africa and Asia. Members of this parvorder are called catarrhines.
The technical distinction between the New World platyrrhines and Old World catarrhines is the shape of their noses. The platyrrhines (from Ancient Greek platu-, "flat" and rhin-, "nose") have nostrils which face sideways. The catarrhines (from Ancient Greek kata-, "down" and rhin-, "nose") have nostrils which face downwards. Catarrhines also never have prehensile tails, and have flat fingernails and toenails, a tubular ectotympanic (ear bone), and eight, not twelve, premolars, giving them a dental formula of: ￼.
Most Catarrhine species show considerable sexual dimorphism and do not form a pair bond. Most, but not all, species live in social groups. Like the platyrrhines, the catarrhines are generally diurnal, and have grasping hands and (with the exception
Panthera leo spelaea, commonly known as the European or Eurasian cave lion, is an extinct subspecies of lion known from fossils and many examples of prehistoric art.
This subspecies was one of the largest lions. The skeleton of an adult male, which was found in 1985 near Siegsdorf (Germany), had a shoulder height of around 1.2 m (4 ft) and a head-body length of 2.1 m (7 ft) without the tail, for a weight of about 160-350 kg. This is similar to the size of a very large modern lion. The size of this male has been exceeded by other specimens of this subspecies. Therefore, this cat may have been around 8%-10% bigger than modern lions and smaller than the earlier cave lion subspecies Panthera leo fossilis or the relatively huge American lion (Panthera leo atrox). The cave lion is known from Paleolithic cave paintings, ivory carvings, and clay figurines. These representations indicate cave lions had rounded, protruding ears, tufted tails, possibly faint tiger-like stripes, and at least some had a "ruff" or primitive mane around their necks, indicating males. Other archaeological artifacts indicate they were featured in Paleolithic religious rituals.
The cave lion received its common name
The dhole (Cuon alpinus), also called the Asiatic wild dog or Indian wild dog, is a species of canid native to South and Southeast Asia. It is the only extant member of the genus Cuon, which differs from Canis by the reduced number of molars and greater number of teats. The dholes are classed as endangered by the IUCN, due to ongoing habitat loss, depletion of its prey base, competition from other predators, persecution and possibly diseases from domestic and feral dogs.
The dhole is a highly social animal, living in large clans which occasionally split up into small packs to hunt. It primarily preys on medium-sized ungulates, which it hunts by tiring them out in long chases, and kills by disemboweling them. Unlike most social canids (but similar to African wild dogs), dholes let their pups eat first at a kill. Though fearful of humans, dhole packs are bold enough to attack large and dangerous animals such as wild boar, water buffalo, and even tigers.
Since these canids are called dholes only in English, the etymology remains unclear, but it may have come from Kannada: tōḷa (‘wolf’). Some 19th-century authors connected this word with Turkish: deli ‘mad, crazy’, and erroneously
The Fiordland Crested Penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus), also known as Tawaki (Maori), is a species of crested penguin from New Zealand. It breeds along the Fiordland coast and its outlying islands as well as on Stewart Island/Rakiura.
Also known as the Fiordland Crested Penguin, the Fiordland Penguin was described in 1845 by English zoologist George Robert Gray, its specific epithet derived from the Ancient Greek pachy-/παχυ- 'thick' and rhynchos/ρυνχος 'beak'. It is one of six species in the genus Eudyptes, the generic name derived from the Ancient Greek eu/ευ 'good' and dyptes/δυπτης 'diver'.
They are medium-sized, yellow-crested, black-and-white penguins, growing to approximately 60 cm (24 in) long and weighing on average 3.7 kg (8.2 lbs), with a weight range of 2 to 5.95 kg (4.4 to 13.1 lb). It has dark, bluish-grey upperparts with a darker head, and white underparts. It has a broad, yellow eyebrow-stripe which extends over the eye and drops down the neck. Most birds have 3-6 whitish stripes on the face.
This penguin nests in colonies in dense temperate forest. It breeds along the Fiordland coast and its outlying islands as well as on Stewart Island/Rakiura.
The main prey
The Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) is one of the best known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. Once widespread across the Holarctic, it has disappeared from many of the more heavily populated areas. Despite being extirpated from or uncommon in some its former range, the species is still fairly ubiquitous, being present in Eurasia, North America, and parts of Africa. The highest density of nesting Golden Eagles in the world lies in southern Alameda County, California. These birds are dark brown, with lighter golden-brown plumage on their heads and necks.
Golden Eagles use their agility and speed combined with extremely powerful talons to snatch up a variety of prey, including rabbits, marmots, ground squirrels, and large mammals such as foxes and young ungulates. They will also eat carrion if live prey is scarce, as well as reptiles. Birds, including large species up to the size of swans and cranes have also been recorded as prey. For centuries, this species has been one of the most highly regarded birds used in falconry, with the Eurasian subspecies having been used to hunt and kill unnatural, dangerous prey such as
The maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is the largest canid of South America, resembling a large fox with reddish fur.
This mammal is found in open and semi-open habitats, especially grasslands with scattered bushes and trees, in south, central-west and south-eastern Brazil (Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Goiás, São Paulo, Federal District and recently Rio Grande do Sul), Paraguay, northern Argentina, Bolivia east and north of the Andes, and far south-eastern Peru (Pampas del Heath only). It is very rare in Uruguay, being possibly extirpated . IUCN lists it as near threatened, while it is considered vulnerable by the Brazilian government (IBAMA). It is the only species in the genus Chrysocyon. It is locally known as aguará guazú (meaning "large fox" in the Guarani language), lobo de crin, lobo de los esteros or lobo colorado, and as lobo-guará in Brazil. It is also called borochi in Bolivia.
The maned wolf has often been described as "a red fox on stilts" owing to its similar coloration and overall appearance, though it is much larger than a red fox and belongs to a different genus. The adult animal stands 67 to 107 cm (26 to 42 in) tall at the shoulder, averages
The Parazoa are an ancestral subkingdom of animals, literally translated as "beside the animals".
Parazoans differ from their choanoflagellate ancestors in that they are not microscopic and have differentiated cells. However, they are an outgroup of the animal phylogenetic tree being that they do not have tissues. The only surviving parazoans are the sponges, which belong to the phylum Porifera, and one surviving species (Trichoplax adhaerens) in the phylum Placozoa.
Parazoa display no body symmetry (are asymmetrical); all other animal groups display some sort of symmetry. There are currently 5000 species, 150 of which are freshwater. Larvae are planktonic and adults are sessile.
The Parazoa-Eumetazoa split has been estimated at 940 million years ago.
The parazoa group is now considered paraphyletic. It is not included in most modern cladistic analyses. When referenced, it is sometimes considered an equivalent to Porifera.
Some authors include Placozoa, a phylum that consists of only one species, Trichoplax adhaerens, in the division, but they are also sometimes placed in the subkingdom Agnotozoa.
Parnell's Mustached Bat, Pteronotus parnellii is an insectivorous bat native to North, Central and South America. This bat species ranges from southern Sonora, Mexico south to Brazil. Historically, it had a wider range as fossil specimens have been collected on the island of New Providence, Bahamas. It's a large bat with a forearm length of about 60 millimeters. The ears are short and pointed, and they have no noseleafs, but the lips are wrinkled up and modified into a funnel shape.
These bats live mainly in moist areas, although they can also be found in dry deciduous forests. They roost in caves and tunnels, and sometimes live together with other bat species. The females breed once a year. It was previously thought to be the only bat in the New World to perform Doppler-shift compensation behavior.
Saurischia ( /sɔːˈrɪskiə/ saw-RIS-kee-ə, from the Greek sauros (σαυρος) meaning 'lizard' and ischion (ισχιον) meaning 'hip joint') is one of the two basic divisions of dinosaurs. In 1888, Harry Seeley classified dinosaurs into two orders, based on their hip structure. Saurischians ('lizard-hipped') are distinguished from the ornithischians ('bird-hipped') by retaining the ancestral configuration of bones in the hip.
All carnivorous dinosaurs (the theropods) are saurischians, as are one of the two primary lineages of herbivorous dinosaurs, the sauropodomorphs. At the end of the Cretaceous Period, all saurischians except the birds became extinct. This is referred to as the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. Avians (modern birds), as direct descendants of one group of theropod dinosaurs, are a sub-clade of saurischian dinosaurs in phylogenetic classification.
Saurischians are distinguished from ornithischians by their three-pronged pelvic structure, with the pubis pointed forward. The ornithischians' pelvis is arranged with the pubis rotated backward, parallel with the ischium, often also with a forward-pointing process, giving a four-pronged structure.
The ornithischian hip
The short-eared dog (Atelocynus microtis), also known as the short-eared fox or the short-eared zorro, is a unique and elusive canid species endemic to the Amazonian basin. This is the only species assigned to the genus Atelocynus.
It has many names in the indigenous languages where it is endemic, such as: cachorro-do-mato-de-orelha-curta in Portuguese, zorro de oreja corta in Spanish, nomensarixi in the Chiquitano language, and uálaca in Yucuna. Other names in Spanish are zorro ojizarco, zorro sabanero, zorro negro.
The short-eared dog's history is similar to that of the other carnivorans and many of the other terrestrial placental mammals of South America. After the formation of the Isthmus of Panama in the latter part the Tertiary (about 2.5 million years ago in the Pliocene), dogs migrated from North America to the southern continent as part of the Great American Interchange. The short-eared dog's ancestors adapted to life in tropical rainforests, developing the requisite morphological and anatomical features. Apart from its superficial resemblance to the bush dog, the short-eared dog seems not to be closely related to any fox-like or wolf-like canid (R. Burton; International
Theria ( /ˈθɪəriə/; Greek: θηρίον, wild beast) is a subclass of mammals that give birth to live young without using a shelled egg, consisting of the eutherians (including the placental mammals) and the metatherians (including the marsupials). The only omitted extant mammal group is the egg-laying monotremes.
The rank of "Theria" may vary depending on the classification system used. The textbook classification system by Vaughan et al. (2000) gives the following:
In the above system Theria is a subclass. Alternatively, in the system proposed by McKenna and Bell (1997) it is ranked as a supercohort under the subclass Theriiformes:
Another classification proposed by Luo et al. (2002) does not assign any rank to the taxonomic levels, but uses a purely cladistic system instead.
The genus Aptenodytes (from the Ancient Greek a/α 'without' pteno-/πτηνο- 'feather' or 'wing' and dytes/δυτης 'diver') contains two extant species of penguins collectively known as "the great penguins".
Ridgen's Penguin (Aptenodytes ridgeni) is an extinct species known from fossil bones of Early or Late Pliocene age.
Combined morphological and molecular data have shown the genus Aptenodytes to be basal to all other living penguins, that is, the genus split off from a branch which led to all other species. DNA evidence suggests this split occurred around 40 million years ago. This had been foreshadowed by an attempt to classify penguins by their behaviour, which also predicted the genus' basal nature.
Two monotypic species extant:
Insects (from Latin insectum, a calque of Greek ἔντομον [éntomon], "cut into sections") are a class of invertebrates within the arthropod phylum that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body (head, thorax, and abdomen), three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and one pair of antennae. They are among the most diverse groups of animals on the planet, including more than a million described species and representing more than half of all known living organisms. The number of extant species is estimated at between six and ten million, and potentially represent over 90% of the differing metazoan life forms on Earth. Insects may be found in nearly all environments, although only a small number of species occur in the oceans, a habitat dominated by another arthropod group, crustaceans.
The life cycles of insects vary, but most hatch from eggs. Insect growth is constrained by the inelastic exoskeleton and development involves a series of molts. The immature stages can differ from the adults in structure, habit and habitat, and can include a passive pupal stage in those groups that undergo complete metamorphosis. Insects that undergo incomplete metamorphosis lack a pupal stage and
The Labrador Retriever (also Labrador, or Lab for short) is one of several kinds of retriever, a type of gun dog. A breed characteristic is webbed paws for swimming, useful for the breed's original purpose of retrieving fishing nets. The Labrador is the most popular breed of dog by registered ownership in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States (since 1991). It is also one of the most popular assistance dog breeds in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States and many other countries, as well as being widely used by police and other official bodies for their detection and working abilities. Typically, Labradors are athletic and love to swim, play catch and retrieve games, are good with young children, elderly, and for protection. They are also used as guide dogs to help blind people.
The modern Labrador's ancestors originated on the island of Newfoundland, now part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The founding breed of the Labrador was the St. John's Water Dog, a breed that emerged through ad-hoc breedings by early settlers of the island in the 16th century. The forebears of the St. John's Dog are not known, but were likely a
Ants are social insects of the family Formicidae ( /fɔrˈmɪsɨdiː/) and, along with the related wasps and bees, belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the mid-Cretaceous period between 110 and 130 million years ago and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. More than 12,500 out of an estimated total of 22,000 species have been classified. They are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and a distinctive node-like structure that forms a slender waist.
Ants form colonies that range in size from a few dozen predatory individuals living in small natural cavities to highly organised colonies that may occupy large territories and consist of millions of individuals. Larger colonies consist mostly of sterile wingless females forming castes of "workers", "soldiers", or other specialised groups. Nearly all ant colonies also have some fertile males called "drones" and one or more fertile females called "queens". The colonies sometimes are described as superorganisms because the ants appear to operate as a unified entity, collectively working together to support the colony.
Ants have colonised almost every landmass on Earth. The only places
Humans (Homo sapiens) are primates of the family Hominidae, and the only living species of the genus Homo. They originated in Africa, where they reached anatomical modernity about 200,000 years ago and began to exhibit full behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago.
The human lineage diverged from the last common ancestor with its closest living relative, the chimpanzee, some five million years ago, evolving into the Australopithecines and eventually the genus Homo. The first Homo species to move out of Africa was Homo erectus, the African variety of which, together with Homo heidelbergensis, is considered to be the immediate ancestor of modern humans. Homo sapiens proceeded to colonize the continents, arriving in Eurasia 125,000-60,000 years ago, Australia around 40,000 years ago, the Americas around 15,000 years ago, and remote islands such as Hawaii, Easter Island, Madagascar, and New Zealand between the years AD 300 and 1280.
As early as 12,000 years ago, humans began to practice sedentary agriculture, domesticating plants and animals which allowed for the growth of civilization. Humans subsequently established various forms of government, religion, and culture
Traditionally, reptiles are members of the class Reptilia comprising the amniotes that are neither birds nor mammals. (The amniotes are the vertebrates with eggs featuring an amnion, a double membrane that permits the embryo to breathe effectively on land.) Living reptiles can be distinguished from other tetrapods in that they are cold-blooded and bear scutes or scales.
Reptiles originated around 320-310 million years ago during the Carboniferous period, having evolved from advanced reptile-like amphibians that became increasingly adapted to life on dry land. There are many extinct groups, including dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and aquatic groups such as the ichthyosaurs. Modern reptiles inhabit every continent with the exception of Antarctica. Several living sub-groups are recognized:
Although they have scutes on their feet and lay eggs, birds have historically been excluded from the reptiles, in part because they are warm-blooded. They therefore do not appear on the list above. However, as some reptiles are more closely related to birds than they are to other reptiles—crocodiles are more closely related to birds than they are to lizards—cladistic writers who prefer a more unified
The banded penguins are the penguins of the Spheniscus ("wedge-shaped") genus. There are four living species of penguins known as banded penguins, and all have similar coloration. They are sometimes also known as "Jack-ass penguins" due to their loud locator calls sounding similar to a donkey braying. Common traits include a band of black that runs around their bodies bordering their black dorsal coloring, black beaks with a small vertical white band, distinct spots on their bellies, and a small patch of unfeathered or thinly feathered skin around their eyes that can be either white or pink. All members of this genus lay their eggs and raise their young in burrows.
The African, Humboldt, and Magellanic species all live in more temperate climates such as South Africa and the southern coasts of Chile and Argentina while the Galápagos Penguin is native to the Galapagos Islands, making it the most northerly of all penguin species. The banded penguins are not (and apparently never were) Antarctic.
The four extant (living) species of banded penguins (Spheniscus) are:
Several extinct species are known from prehistoric fossils:
The former Spheniscus predemersus is now placed in a monotypic
Darwin's fox or Darwin's Zorro (Lycalopex fulvipes) is a small critically endangered canine from the genus Lycalopex. It is also known as the Zorro Chilote or Zorro de Darwin in Spanish and lives on Chiloé Island and Nahuelbuta National Park in mainland Chile (Araucanía Region).
Darwin's fox was first collected from San Pedro Island off the coast of Chile by the naturalist Charles Darwin in 1834. It was long held that Darwin's fox was a subspecies of the South American gray fox (L. griseus); however, the discovery of a small population of Darwin's fox on the mainland in Nahuelbuta National Park in 1990 and subsequent genetic analysis has clarified the fox's status as a unique species.
Pseudalopex is a South American genus of canine distantly related to wolves and is technically not a fox. When Charles Darwin collected a specimen from San Pedro Island in Chiloé Archipelago in December 1834 during the Beagle survey expedition, he observed that this "fox (of Chiloe, a rare animal) sat on the point & was so absorbed in watching [survey work], that he allowed me to walk behind him & actually kill him with my geological hammer". In the 1839 publication of his Journal and Remarks, Darwin
Fox is a common name for many species of omnivorous mammals belonging to the Canidae family. Foxes are small to medium-sized canids (slightly smaller than a medium-sized domestic dog), characterized by possessing a long narrow snout, and a bushy tail (or brush).
Members of about 37 species are referred to as foxes, of which only 12 species actually belong to the Vulpes genus of "true foxes". By far the most common and widespread species of fox is the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), although various species are found on almost every continent. The presence of fox-like carnivores all over the globe, together with their widespread reputation for cunning, has contributed to their appearance in popular culture and folklore in many societies around the world (see also Foxes in culture). The hunting of foxes with packs of hounds, long an established pursuit in Europe, especially the British Isles, was exported by European settlers to various parts of the New World.
The Modern English word "fox" is Old English, and comes from the Proto-Germanic word fukh – compare German Fuchs, Gothic fauho, Old Norse foa and Dutch vos. It corresponds to the Proto-Indo-European word puk- meaning "tail of it"
The island fox (Urocyon littoralis) is a small fox that is native to six of the eight Channel Islands of California. There are six subspecies of the fox, each unique to the island it lives on, reflecting its evolutionary history. Other names for the island fox include coast fox, short-tailed fox, island gray fox, Channel Islands fox, Channel Islands gray fox, California Channel Island fox and insular gray fox.
The island fox shares the Urocyon genus with the mainland gray fox, the species from which it is descended. Its small size is a result of insular dwarfism, a kind of allopatric speciation. Because the island fox is geographically isolated, it has no immunity to parasites and diseases brought in from the mainland and is especially vulnerable to those the domestic dog may carry. In addition, predation by the golden eagle and human activities devastated fox numbers on several of the Channel Islands in the 1990s. Four island fox subspecies were federally protected as an endangered species in 2004, and efforts to rebuild fox populations and restore the ecosystems of the Channel Islands are being undertaken. Radio collars are being attached to foxes in an effort to track and locate
The Macaroni Penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus) is a species of penguin found from the Subantarctic to the Antarctic Peninsula. One of six species of crested penguin, it is very closely related to the Royal Penguin, and some authorities consider the two to be a single species. It bears a distinctive yellow crest, and the face and upperparts are black and sharply delineated from the white underparts. Adults weigh on average 5.5 kg (12 lb) and are 70 cm (28 in) in length. The male and female are similar in appearance although the male is slightly larger with a relatively larger bill. Like all penguins, it is flightless, with a streamlined body and wings stiffened and flattened into flippers for a marine lifestyle.
Its diet consists of a variety of crustaceans, mainly krill, as well as small fish and cephalopods; the species consumes more marine life annually than any other species of seabird. These birds moult once a year, spending about three to four weeks ashore, before returning to the sea. Numbering up to 100,000 individuals, the breeding colonies of the Macaroni Penguin are among the largest and densest of all penguin species. After spending the summer months breeding, penguins
Octopus is the largest genus of octopuses, comprising more than 100 species. These species are widespread throughout the world's oceans.
The species listed above with an asterisk (*) are questionable and need further study to determine if they are valid species or synonyms.
The South American foxes (Lycalopex), commonly called "zorros", in Spanish, or "raposas", in Portuguese, are a genus of the dog family from South America. Despite their name, they are not true foxes but are a unique canid genus more closely related to the wolves, dogs, jackals and coyotes than they are to foxes, which they somewhat resemble and after which they are named. The South American gray fox Lycalopex griseus, is the most common species, and is known for its large ears and a highly marketable, russet-fringed pelt.
The oldest known fossils belonging to the genus were discovered in Chile, and date from 2.0 to 2.5 million years ago, in the mid to late Pliocene.
The common English words "zorro" and "raposa" are loan words from Spanish and Portuguese, respectively, with both words originally meaning "fox". Current usage lists Pseudalopex (literally: "false fox") as synonymous with Lycalopex ("wolf fox"), with the latter taking precedence. The IUCN, for instance, retains the use of Pseudalopex while also acknowledging Lycalopex as a legitimate alternative.
Species currently included in this genus include:
In 1914, Oldfield Thomas established the genus Dusicyon, in which he
The superclass tetrapoda (Ancient Greek τετραπόδηs tetrapodēs, "four-footed"), or in semi-anglicized form the tetrapods, comprises the first four-limbed vertebrates and their the descendants, including the living and extinct amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.
While most species today are terrestrial, there is little evidence that any of the earliest tetrapods could move about on land, as their limbs could not have held their midsections off the ground and the known trackways do not indicate that they dragged their bellies around. Presumably, the tracks were made by animals bottom-walking in shallow water. Amphibians today generally remain semi-aquatic, living the first stage of their lives as fish-like tadpoles. Several groups of tetrapods, such as the snakes and cetaceans have lost some or all of their limbs. And many tetrapods have returned to semi-aquatic, or in the case of the cetaceans fully aquatic lives.
The tetrapods evolved from the lobe-finned fishes about 395 million years ago in the Devonian. The specific aquatic ancestors of the tetrapods, and the process by which land colonization occurred, remain unclear, and are areas of active research and debate among
Ailuridae is a family in the mammal order Carnivora. The family comprises the Red Panda (the sole living representative) and its extinct relatives.
Frédéric Georges Cuvier first described Ailurus as belonging to the raccoon family in 1825; this classification has been controversial ever since. It was classified in the raccoon family (Procyonidae) because of morphological similarities of the head, colored ringed tail, and other morphological and ecological characteristics. Then, it was assigned to the bear family (Ursidae).
Molecular phylogenetic studies show that, as an ancient species in the order Carnivora, the Red Panda is relatively close to the American Raccoon and may be either a monotypic family or a subfamily within the procynonid family. An in-depth mitochondrial DNA population analysis study stated: “According to the fossil record, the Red Panda diverged from its common ancestor with bears about 40 million years ago (Mayr 1986). With this divergence, by comparing the sequence difference between the red panda and the raccoon, the observed mutation rate for the red panda was calculated to be on the order of 10, which is apparently an underestimate compared with the average
Archosauromorpha (Greek for "ruling lizard forms") is an infraclass of diapsid reptiles that first appeared during the late Permian and became more common during the Triassic. Included in this infraclass are the groups Rhynchosauria, Trilophosauridae, Prolacertiformes, Archosauriformes, and, tentatively, Choristodera. While superficially these reptiles vary in appearance (at one time they were even included in different subclasses – the trilophosaurs were considered euryapsids, and the rhynchosaurs were considered lepidosaurs and were included in the same order as the tuatara), they are actually united by a number of small skeletal and skull-related details that suggest they form a clade that descended from a single common ancestor.
Of the five taxa mentioned above the first three died out at or before the end-Triassic extinction. The choristoderans continued as a minor group until the Miocene, and the Archosauriformes were important factors in early Triassic environments before giving rise to the even more successful Archosauria.
The blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is a marine mammal belonging to the suborder of baleen whales (called Mysticeti). At 30 metres (98 ft) in length and 180 metric tons (200 short tons) or more in weight, it is the largest known animal to have ever existed.
Long and slender, the blue whale's body can be various shades of bluish-grey dorsally and somewhat lighter underneath. There are at least three distinct subspecies: B. m. musculus of the North Atlantic and North Pacific, B. m. intermedia of the Southern Ocean and B. m. brevicauda (also known as the pygmy blue whale) found in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean. B. m. indica, found in the Indian Ocean, may be another subspecies. As with other baleen whales, its diet consists almost exclusively of small crustaceans known as krill.
Blue whales were abundant in nearly all the oceans on Earth until the beginning of the twentieth century. For over a century, they were hunted almost to extinction by whalers until protected by the international community in 1966. A 2002 report estimated there were 5,000 to 12,000 blue whales worldwide, located in at least five groups. More recent research into the Pygmy subspecies suggests this
Canidae ( /ˈkænɨdiː/) is the biological family of carnivorous and omnivorous mammals that includes domestic dogs, wolves, foxes, jackals, coyotes, and many other lesser known extant and extinct dog-like mammals. A member of this family is called a canid (/ˈkeɪnɨd/). The Canidae family is divided into two tribes: Canini (related to wolves) and Vulpini (related to foxes). The two species of the basal Caninae are more primitive and do not fit into either tribe.
The subdivision of Canidae into "foxes" and "true dogs" may not be in accordance with the actual relations; also the taxonomic classification of several canines is disputed. Recent DNA analysis shows that Canini (dogs) and Vulpini (foxes) are valid clades (see phylogeny below). Molecular data implies a North American origin of living Canidae and an African origin of wolf-like canines (Canis, Cuon, and Lycaon).
Currently, the domestic dog is listed as a subspecies of Canis lupus, C. l. familiaris, and the dingo (also considered a domestic dog) as C. l. dingo, provisionally a separate subspecies from C. l. familiaris; the red wolf, eastern Canadian wolf, and Indian wolf are recognized as subspecies. Many sources list the
The diverse order Carnivora ( /kɑrˈnɪvərə/ or /ˌkɑrnɪˈvɔərə/; from Latin carō (stem carn-) "flesh", + vorāre "to devour") includes over 280 species of placental mammals. Its members are formally referred to as carnivorans, while the word "carnivore" (often popularly applied to members of this group) can refer to any meat-eating organism. Carnivorans are the most diverse in size of any mammalian order, ranging from the least weasel (Mustela nivalis), at as little as 25 grams (0.88 oz) and 11 centimetres (4.3 in), to the polar bear (Ursus maritimus), which can weigh up to 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb), to the southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina), whose adult males weigh up to 5,000 kilograms (11,000 lb) and measure up to 6.9 metres (23 ft) in length.
The first carnivoran was a carnivore, and nearly all carnivorans today primarily eat meat. Some, such as cats and pinnipeds, are obligate carnivores. Others, such as raccoons and bears, depending on the local habitat, are more omnivorous; the giant panda is almost exclusively a herbivore, but will take fish, eggs and insects, while the polar bear's harsh habitat forces it to subsist mainly on prey. Carnivorans have teeth, claws, and
Homo antecessor is an extinct human species (or subspecies) dating from 1.2 million to 800,000 years ago, that was discovered by Eudald Carbonell, Juan Luis Arsuaga and J. M. Bermúdez de Castro. H. antecessor is one of the earliest known human varieties in Europe.
Various archaeologists and anthropologists have debated how H. antecessor related to other Homo species in Europe, with suggestions that it was an evolutionary link between H. ergaster and H. heidelbergensis, although Richard Klein believes that it was instead a separate species that evolved from H. ergaster. Others believe that H. antecessor is in fact the same species as H. heidelbergensis, who inhabited Europe from 600,000 to 250,000 years ago in the Pleistocene.
The best-preserved fossil is a maxilla that belonged to a 10-year-old individual found in Spain. Based on palaeomagnetic measurements, it is thought to be older than 780–857 ka. The average brain was 1,000 cm³ in volume. In 1994 and 1995, 80 fossils of six individuals that may have belonged to the species were found in Atapuerca, Spain. At the site were numerous examples of cuts where the flesh had been flensed from the bones, which indicates that H.
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 Greek lagos (λαγος, "hare") and morphē (μορφή, "form").
Though these mammals can resemble rodents (order Rodentia) and were classified as a superfamily in that order until the early twentieth century, they have since been considered a separate order. For a time it was common to consider the lagomorphs only distant relatives of the rodents, to whom they merely bore a superficial resemblance.
The evolutionary history of the lagomorphs is still not well understood. Until recently, it was generally agreed that Eurymylus, which lived in eastern Asia and dates back to the late Paleocene or early Eocene, was an ancestor of the lagomorphs. More recent examination of the fossil evidence suggests that lagomorphs may have instead descended from Anagaloidea also known as mimotonids, while Eurymylus was more closely related to rodents (although not a direct ancestor.) The leporids first appeared in the late Eocene and rapidly spread throughout the northern hemisphere; they show a trend
The leopard ( /ˈlɛpərd/), Panthera pardus, is a member of the Felidae family and the smallest of the four "big cats" in the genus Panthera, the other three being the tiger, lion, and jaguar. The leopard was once distributed across eastern and southern Asia and Africa, from Siberia to South Africa, but its range of distribution has decreased radically because of hunting and loss of habitat. It is now chiefly found in sub-Saharan Africa; there are also fragmented populations in the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka, Indochina, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China. Because of its declining range and population, it is listed as a "Near Threatened" species on the IUCN Red List.
Compared to other members of the Felidae family, the leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull. It is similar in appearance to the jaguar, but is smaller and more slightly built. Its fur is marked with rosettes similar to those of the jaguar, but the leopard's rosettes are smaller and more densely packed, and do not usually have central spots as the jaguars do. Both leopards and jaguars that are melanistic are known as black panthers.
The species' success in the wild is in part due to its
Selenidera is a bird genus containing six species of dichromatic toucanets in the toucan family Ramphastidae. They are found in lowland rainforest (below 1,500 metres or 4,900 feet) in tropical South America with one species in Central America.
All the species have green upperparts, red undertail-coverts and a patch of bare blue or blue-green skin around the eye. Unlike most other toucans, the sexes are different in colour (sexually dichromatic; hence the name dichromatic toucanets). The males all have a black crown, nape, throat and breast and an orange/yellow auricular streak. The females of most species have the black sections in the male replaced by rich brown and a reduced/absent auricular streak, while the female of one species, the Guianan Toucanet, has grey underparts and a rufous nuchal collar, and the female of another, the Yellow-eared Toucanet, resemble the male except for its brown crown and lack of an auricular streak. The calls are low-pitched and croaking. Most species are relatively small toucans with a total length of 30-35 cm (12-14 in), but the Yellow-eared Toucanet typically has a total length of approx. 38 cm (15 in).
They tend to forage alone or in pairs,
Vespoidea is a superfamily of order Hymenoptera of class Insecta, although older taxonomic schemes may vary in this categorization, particularly in their recognition of a now-obsolete superfamily Scolioidea. The members of this group are known as wasps and ants.
Newer research based on four nuclear genes (elongation factor-1α F2 copy, long-wavelength rhodopsin, wingless and the D2–D3 regions of 28S ribosomal RNA—2700 bp in total) suggests that the higher-level relationships need to be changed, with Rhopalosomatidae as a sister group of the Vespidae and the clade Rhopalosomatidae + Vespidae as sister to all other vespoids and apoids. Additionally, superfamily Apoidea is found to be within the Vespoidea, suggesting the dismantling of the superfamily into many smaller superfamilies. Finally, families Mutillidae, Tiphiidae, and Bradynobaenidae were found to be paraphyletic.
The Beagle is a breed of small to medium-sized dog. A member of the Hound Group, it is similar in appearance to the Foxhound, but smaller, with shorter legs and longer, softer ears. Beagles are scent hounds, developed primarily for tracking hare, rabbit, and other game. They have a great sense of smell and tracking instinct that sees them employed as detection dogs for prohibited agricultural imports and foodstuffs in quarantine around the world. Beagles are intelligent, and are popular as pets because of their size, even temper, and lack of inherited health problems. These characteristics also make them the dog of choice for animal testing.
Although beagle-type dogs have existed for over 2,000 years, the modern breed was developed in Great Britain around the 1830s from several breeds, including the Talbot Hound, the North Country Beagle, the Southern Hound, and possibly the Harrier.
Beagles have been depicted in popular culture since Elizabethan times in literature and paintings, and more recently in film, television and comic books. Snoopy of the comic strip Peanuts has been promoted as "the world's most famous beagle".
Dogs of similar size and purpose to the modern Beagle can be
The order Cetacea ( /sɨˈteɪʃⁱə/) includes the carnivorous marine mammals commonly known as whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Cetus is Latin and is used in biological names to mean "whale"; its original meaning, "large sea animal", was more general. It comes from Ancient Greek κῆτος (kētos), meaning "whale" or "any huge fish or sea monster". In Greek mythology, the monster Perseus defeated was called Ceto, which is depicted by the constellation of Cetus. Cetology is the branch of marine science associated with the study of cetaceans.
Cetaceans are the mammals best adapted to aquatic life. The body of a cetacean is fusiform (spindle-shaped). The forelimbs are modified into flippers. The tiny hindlimbs are vestigial; they do not attach to the backbone and are hidden within the body. The tail has horizontal flukes. Cetaceans are nearly hairless, and are insulated from the cooler water they inhabit by a thick layer of blubber.
Some species are noted for their high intelligence. At the 2012 meeting in Vancouver, Canada, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (the world's biggest science conference), support was reiterated for a cetacean bill of rights, listing cetaceans
The Proteobacteria are a major group (phylum) of bacteria. They include a wide variety of pathogens, such as Escherichia, Salmonella, Vibrio, Helicobacter, and many other notable genera. Others are free-living, and include many of the bacteria responsible for nitrogen fixation.
In 1987, Carl Woese established this grouping, calling it informally the "purple bacteria and their relatives". Because of the great diversity of forms found in this group, the Proteobacteria are named after Proteus, a Greek god of the sea, capable of assuming many different shapes, and it is therefore not named after the genus Proteus.
All proteobacteria are Gram-negative, with an outer membrane mainly composed of lipopolysaccharides. Many move about using flagella, but some are nonmotile or rely on bacterial gliding. The last include the myxobacteria, a unique group of bacteria that can aggregate to form multicellular fruiting bodies. There is also a wide variety in the types of metabolism. Most members are facultatively or obligately anaerobic, chemoautotrophs, and heterotrophic, but there are numerous exceptions. A variety of genera, which are not closely related to each other, convert energy from
A cephalopod is any member of the molluscan class Cephalopoda (Greek plural Κεφαλόποδα (kephalópoda); "head-feet"). These exclusively marine animals are characterized by bilateral body symmetry, a prominent head, and a set of arms or tentacles (muscular hydrostats) modified from the primitive molluscan foot. Fishermen sometimes call them inkfish, referring to their common ability to squirt ink. The study of cephalopods is a branch of malacology known as teuthology.
Cephalopods became dominant during the Ordovician period, represented by primitive nautiloids. The class now contains two, only distantly related, extant subclasses: Coleoidea, which includes octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish; and Nautiloidea, represented by Nautilus and Allonautilus. In the Coleoidea, the molluscan shell has been internalized or is absent, whereas in the Nautiloidea, the external shell remains. About 800 living species of cephalopods have been identified. Two important extinct taxa are the Ammonoidea (ammonites) and Belemnoidea (belemnites).
There are around 800 extant species of cephalopod, although new species continue to be described. An estimated 11,000 extinct taxa have been described, although the
The Enterobacteriaceae is a large family of Gram-negative bacteria that includes, along with many harmless symbionts, many of the more familiar pathogens, such as Salmonella, Escherichia coli, Yersinia pestis, Klebsiella and Shigella. Other disease-causing bacteria in this family include Proteus, Enterobacter, Serratia, and Citrobacter. This family is the only representative in the order Enterobacteriales of the class Gammaproteobacteria in the phylum Proteobacteria. Phylogenetically, in the Enterobacteriales, several peptidoglycan-less insect endosymbionts form a sister clade to the Enterobacteriaceae, but as they are not validly described, this group is not officially a taxon; examples of these species are Sodalis, Buchnera, Wigglesworthia, Baumannia and Blochmannia, but not formers rickettsias. Members of the Enterobacteriaceae can be trivially referred to as enterobacteria, as several members live in the intestines of animals. In fact, the etymology of the family is enterobacterium with the suffix to designate a family (aceae) — not after the genus Enterobacter (which would be "Enterobacteraceae")— and the type genus is Escherichia.
Members of the Enterobacteriaceae are
The gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) is a mammal of the order Carnivora ranging throughout most of the southern half of North America from southern Canada to the northern part of South America (Venezuela and Colombia). This species and the closely related Channel Island fox (Urocyon littoralis) are the only living members of the genus Urocyon, which is considered to be among the most primitive of the living canids. Though it was once the most common fox in the east, and still is found there, human advancement allowed the red fox to become more dominant. The Pacific States still have the gray fox as a dominant.
The gray fox appeared during the mid Pliocene epoch 3.6 million years ago (AEO) with the first fossil evidence found at the lower 111 Ranch site, Graham County, Arizona with contemporary mammals giant sloth, the elephant-like Cuvieronius, Large-headed llama, and the early small horses of Nannippus and Equus. Genetic analyses of the fox-like canids confirmed that the gray fox is a distinct genus from the red foxes (Vulpes ssp.). Genetically, the gray fox often clusters with two other ancient lineages, the east Asian Raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides) and the African
Magnoliopsida is a valid botanical name for a class of flowering plants. By definition the class will include the family Magnoliaceae, but its circumscription can otherwise vary, being more inclusive or less inclusive depending upon the classification system being discussed.
In the Takhtajan system and the Cronquist system the name was used for the group known as dicotyledons.
The Takhtajan system used this internal taxonomy:
The Cronquist system used this internal taxonomy (in the 1981 version):
The Dahlgren system and the Thorne system (1992) used the name Magnoliopsida for the flowering plants (angiosperms). However, the Cronquist system has been very popular and there have been many versions of the system published. In some of these Cronquist-based systems the name Magnoliopsida (at the rank of class) refers to the flowering plants (the angiosperms).
The Reveal system used the name Magnoliopsida for a group of the primitive dicotyledons, corresponding to about half of the plants in the magnoliids:
In the APG and APG II systems botanical names are used only at the rank of order and below. Above the rank of order, these systems use their own names, such as angiosperms, eudicots,
Metatheria is a grouping within the animal class Mammalia. First proposed by Thomas Henry Huxley in 1880, it is slightly wider than the earlier taxon Marsupialia, (Illiger, 1811); it contains the extant mammals with abdominal pouches (most female marsupials) as well as all animals more closely related to them than to placental animals like armadillos and humans. Some female metatherians, like the shrew opossum, lack the pouch.
The earliest known representative, Sinodelphys, is from the Lower Cretaceous of China.
The closest relatives of the metatheres are the Eutheria (also erected by Huxley in 1880). Both are conventionally united as infraclasses within the subclass Theria (Parker and Haswell, 1897), which contains all living mammals except monotremes.
During development, metatherians produce a yolk-sac placenta and give birth to "larval-like" offspring. These offspring have underdeveloped posterior limbs (the pes can be webbed), and following birth they migrate to the pouch where they attach to a nipple. The mouth of newly-born metatherians is fused laterally, but open medially; this forms an "O" shaped mouth in which the mother's nipple fits; it then swells to secure the
The Barbary lion (Panthera leo leo), also known as the Atlas lion is a subspecies of lion that became extinct in the wild or extinct in the 20th century. Its former habitat range was in North Africa encompassing the region from Morocco to Egypt.
The Barbary lion is often regarded as the largest and the heaviest of the lion subspecies with estimated weights for males of 190 to 230 kilograms (420 to 510 lb) and for females of 150 to 190 kilograms (330 to 420 lb). These weight ranges have been criticized for being greatly exaggerated, however, with the Barbary lion being considered similar in size to the lions in East Africa. Male Barbary lions were around 2.7 to 3.4 metres (8 ft 10 in to 11 ft 2 in) in length and females were around 2.1 to 2.7 metres (6 ft 10 in to 8 ft 10 in) in length.
Unlike other lion subspecies, the Barbary lion did not live in prides due to the scarcity of food in its habitat. These lions were solitary like the other big cat species, or occasionally lived in pairs. Females raised their young until maturity - approximately 2 years - and then separated from them.
The main sources of natural prey for the predators of the Atlas Mountains were Barbary Stag and
Chimpanzee, sometimes colloquially chimp, is the common name for the two extant species of ape in the genus Pan. The Congo River forms the boundary between the native habitats of the two species:
Chimpanzees are members of the Hominidae family, along with gorillas, humans, and orangutans. Chimpanzees split from the human branch of the family about 4 to 6 million years ago. The two chimpanzee species are the closest living relatives to humans, all being members of the Hominini tribe (along with extinct species of Hominina subtribe). Chimpanzees are the only known members of the Panina subtribe. The two Pan species split only about one million years ago.
The genus Pan is considered to be part of the subfamily Homininae to which humans also belong. These two species are the closest living evolutionary relatives to humans, sharing a common ancestor with humans about four to six million years ago. Research by Mary-Claire King in 1973 found 99% identical DNA between human beings and chimpanzees, although research since has modified that finding to about 94% commonality, with some of the difference occurring in noncoding DNA. It has been proposed, for instance by J. Diamond in his book
The crab-eating fox (Cerdocyon thous), also known as the forest fox, wood fox, and the common fox, is an extant species of medium-sized canid endemic to the central part of South America and which appeared during the Pliocene epoch. Cerdocyon comes from the Greek words kerdo (meaning fox) and cyon (dog) referring to the dog and fox- like characters of this animal.
Cerdocyonina is a tribe which appeared around 6.0 Ma in North America as Cerdocyon avius becoming extinct by around 1.4—1.3 Ma. living about 4.7 million years. This genus carried on in South America from an undetermined time, possibly around 3.1 Ma and continues to present in the form or similar to the crab-eating fox.
As one of the species of the tribe Canini, it is related to the Canis genus. It was theorized at present that the crab-eating fox's nearest relative is the Short-eared Dog. This, however, has to be supported by mitochondrial investigations (Pietrzak, 2007). Two subgenera (Atelocynus and Speothos) were long ago included in Cerdocyon.
The crab-eating fox is a canid that ranges in savannas, woodlands subtropical forests, prickly, shrubby thickets and tropical savannas such as the caatinga, plains, and campo
Homo sapiens idaltu is an extinct subspecies of Homo sapiens that lived almost 160,000 years ago in Pleistocene Africa. Idaltu is from the Saho-Afar word meaning "elder or first born".
The fossilized remains of H. s. idaltu were discovered at Herto Bouri near the Middle Awash site of Ethiopia's Afar Triangle in 1997 by Tim White, but were first unveiled in 2003. Herto Bouri is a region of Ethiopia under volcanic layers. By using radioisotope dating, the layers date between 154,000 and 160,000 years old. Three well preserved crania are accounted for, the best preserved being from an adult male (BOU-VP-16/1) having a brain capacity of 1,450 cm (88 cu in). The other crania include another partial adult male and a six-year-old child.
These fossils differ from those of chronologically later forms of early H. sapiens such as Cro-Magnon found in Europe and other parts of the world in that their morphology has many archaic features not typical of H. sapiens (although modern human skulls do differ across the globe).
Despite the archaic features, these specimens were argued to represent the direct ancestors of modern Homo sapiens sapiens which, according to the "recent African origin (RAO)"
Thylacoleo ("Pouch Lion") is an extinct genus of carnivorous marsupials that lived in Australia from the late Pliocene to the late Pleistocene (2 million to 46 thousand years ago). Some of these "marsupial lions" were the largest mammalian predators in Australia of that time, with Thylacoleo carnifex approaching the weight of a small lion.
Pound for pound, Thylacoleo carnifex had the strongest bite of any mammal species living or extinct; a 100 kg (220 lb) T. carnifex had a bite comparable to that of a 250 kg (550 lb) African Lion and is thought to have hunted large animals such as Diprotodon spp. and giant kangaroos. It also had extremely strong forelimbs, with retractable catlike claws, a trait previously unseen in marsupials. Thylacoleo also possessed enormous hooded claws set on large semi-opposable thumbs, which were used to capture and disembowel prey. The long muscular tail was similar to that of a kangaroo. Specialized tail bones called chevrons allowed the animal to tripod itself, and freed the front legs for slashing and grasping.
Its strong forelimbs, retracting claws and incredibly powerful jaws mean that it may have been possible for Thylacoleo to climb trees and
Plants, also called green plants (Viridiplantae in Latin), are living organisms of the kingdom Plantae including such multicellular groups as flowering plants, conifers, ferns and mosses, as well as, depending on definition, the green algae, but not red or brown seaweeds like kelp, nor fungi or bacteria.
Green plants have cell walls with cellulose and characteristically obtain most of their energy from sunlight via photosynthesis using chlorophyll contained in chloroplasts, which gives them their green color. Some plants are parasitic and may not produce normal amounts of chlorophyll or photosynthesize. Plants are also characterized by sexual reproduction, modular and indeterminate growth, and an alteration of generations, although asexual reproduction is common, and some plants bloom only once while others bear only one bloom.
Precise numbers are difficult to determine, but as of 2010, there are thought to be 300–315 thousand species of plants, of which the great majority, some 260–290 thousand, are seed plants (see the table below). Green plants provide most of the world's free oxygen and are the basis of most of the earth's ecologies, especially on land. Plants described as
The sea otter (Enhydra lutris) is a marine mammal native to the coasts of the northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean. Adult sea otters typically weigh between 14 and 45 kg (30 and 100 lb), making them the heaviest members of the weasel family, but among the smallest marine mammals. Unlike most marine mammals, the sea otter's primary form of insulation is an exceptionally thick coat of fur, the densest in the animal kingdom. Although it can walk on land, the sea otter lives mostly in the ocean.
The sea otter inhabits offshore environments, where it dives to the sea floor to forage. It preys mostly on marine invertebrates such as sea urchins, various molluscs and crustaceans, and some species of fish. Its foraging and eating habits are noteworthy in several respects. First, its use of rocks to dislodge prey and to open shells makes it one of the few mammal species to use tools. In most of its range, it is a keystone species, controlling sea urchin populations which would otherwise inflict extensive damage to kelp forest ecosystems. Its diet includes prey species that are also valued by humans as food, leading to conflicts between sea otters and fisheries.
Sea otters, whose numbers
Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and independently. All animals are also heterotrophs, meaning they must ingest other organisms or their products for sustenance.
Most known animal phyla appeared in the fossil record as marine species during the Cambrian explosion, about 542 million years ago.
The word "animal" comes from the Latin word animalis, meaning "having breath". In everyday colloquial usage, the word often refers to non-human members of kingdom Animalia. Sometimes, only closer relatives of humans such as mammals and other vertebrates are meant in colloquial use. The biological definition of the word refers to all members of the kingdom Animalia, encompassing creatures as diverse as sponges, jellyfish, insects and humans.
Animals have several characteristics that set them apart from other living things. Animals are eukaryotic and mostly multicellular, which separates them from bacteria and most protists. They are
The genus Eudyptula ("good little diver") contains two species of penguin. It is found in southern Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand and the Chatham Islands.
Eudyptula minor is commonly known as the Little Penguin, Little Blue Penguin, or Fairy Penguin. In the language of the Māori people of New Zealand, Little Blue Penguins are known as kororaa.
Some scientists consider a white-flippered version of the Little Blue Penguin to be a separate species, but some would consider it a sub-species; others think the characteristic falls within the bounds of normal local variation. Interestingly, mtDNA analysis suggests that there are indeed 2 species involved: a western one which evolved in Australia and comparatively recently colonized New Zealand's South Island, and a purely New Zealand one. The White-flippered Penguin could be classified as one of up to 4 subspecies of the New Zealand species. More data is required, however, to resolve the taxonomy (Banks et al., 2002).
Felis is a genus of cats in the family Felidae, including the familiar domestic cat and its closest wild relatives. The wild species are distributed widely across Europe, southern and central Asia, and Africa; the domestic cat has been introduced worldwide.
Members of the genus Felis are all small felines, with a more or less close resemblance to the domestic cat. The smallest species is the sand cat, which may be less than 40 centimetres (16 in) in length, while the largest is the jungle cat, which can reach 94 centimetres (37 in). They inhabit a range of different habitats, from swampland to desert, and generally feed on small rodents, supplementing their diet with birds and other small animals, depending on their local environment.
Genetic studies indicate that the genus Felis first evolved around eight to ten million years ago, probably in the Mediterranean region.
The genus Felis is currently considered to consist of six living species, although the domestic cat and Chinese mountain cat are sometimes considered subspecies of F. silvestris.
The classification of the cat family (Felidae) has seen many permutations over the years, and nearly all other species of the family were
The Honshū wolf (Canis lupus hodophilax), known in Japan as the Japanese wolf (ニホンオオカミ（日本狼）, Nihon Ōkami), yamainu (ヤマイヌ（豺、犲、山犬）, "mountain dog"), or simply wolf (オオカミ（狼）, Ōkami), is one of the two extinct subspecies of the gray wolf once endemic to the islands of Japan. The Honshū wolf occupied the islands of Honshū, Shikoku, and Kyūshū in Japan. The other subspecies is the Hokkaidō wolf, native to the island of Hokkaidō. The Honshū wolf is thought to have become extinct due to a combination of rabies, which was first reported in Kyūshū and Shikoku in 1732, and human eradication. The last known specimen died in 1905, in Nara Prefecture.
Some interpretations of the Honshū wolf's extinction stress the change in local perceptions of the animal: rabies-induced aggression and deforestation of the wolf's habitat forced them into conflict with humans, and this led to them being targeted by farmers.
There are currently eight known pelts and five stuffed specimens of the Japanese wolf in existence. One stuffed specimen is in the Netherlands, three are in Japan, and the animal caught in 1905 is kept in the British Museum. Owing to its small size (the Honshū wolf is the smallest known
The lemon (Citrus × limon) is a small evergreen tree native to Asia, and the tree's ellipsoidal yellow fruit. The fruit's juice, pulp and peel, especially the zest, are used as foods. The juice of the lemon is about 5% to 6% citric acid, which gives lemons a sour taste. The distinctive sour taste of lemon juice makes it a key ingredient in drinks and foods such as lemonade.
The origin of the lemon is a mystery, though it is thought that lemons first grew in Southern India, northern Burma, and China. A study of the genetic origin of the lemon reported that it is a hybrid between sour orange and citron.
Lemons entered Europe near southern Italy no later than the 1st century AD, during the time of Ancient Rome. However, they were not widely cultivated. They were later introduced to Persia and then to Iraq and Egypt around 700 AD. The lemon was first recorded in literature in a 10th century Arabic treatise on farming, and was also used as an ornamental plant in early Islamic gardens. It was distributed widely throughout the Arab world and the Mediterranean region between 1000 and 1150.
The first substantial cultivation of lemons in Europe began in Genoa in the middle of the 15th
The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus Greek hali = salt, aeetus = eagle, leuco = white, cephalis = head) is a bird of prey found in North America. It is the national bird of the United States of America and appears on its Seal. This sea eagle has two known sub-species and forms a species pair with the White-tailed Eagle. Its range includes most of Canada and Alaska, all of the contiguous United States, and northern Mexico. It is found near large bodies of open water with an abundant food supply and old-growth trees for nesting.
Its diet consists mainly of fish, but it is an opportunistic feeder. It hunts fish by swooping down and snatching them out of the water with its talons. It is sexually mature at four years or five years of age. The Bald Eagle builds the largest nest of any North American bird, up to 4 meters (13 ft) deep, 2.5 meters (8.2 ft) wide, and one metric ton (1.1 tons) in weight.
The adult Bald Eagle is mainly brown with a white head and tail. The sexes are identical in plumage, but females are larger than males. The beak is large and hooked. The plumage of the immature is brown. Bald Eagles are not actually bald, the name derives from the older meaning of the
The Cape, common or brown hare (Lepus capensis) is a hare natively found throughout Africa, and has spread to many parts of the Europe, Middle East and Asia. The Cape Hare is a nocturnal herbivore. It is known in French as Lievre Du Cap and in Spanish as Liebre Del Cabo.
There are twelve subspecies that exist in Africa. These include:
The Cape Hare is a typical hare, with well-developed legs for leaping and running, and large eyes and ears to look out for threats from its environment. There is usually a white ring around the eye. It has a fine, soft coat which varies in colour from light brown to reddish to sandy grey. Unusually among mammals, the female is larger than the male; this phenomenon is called sexual dimorphism.
It may be found in macchia-type vegetation, grassland, bushveld, and semi-desert areas.
The Cape Hare is a herbivore, typically eating grass and shrubs of various types. Coprophagy, the consumption of fecal material, is a common behaviour amongst rabbits and hares. This habit allows the animal to extract the maximum nourishment from its diet, and microbes present in the pellets also provide nutrients.
Like other hares, they are fast. The only predator which is
Diapsids ("two arches") are a group of reptiles that developed two holes (temporal fenestra) in each side of their skulls, about 300 million years ago during the late Carboniferous period. Living diapsids are extremely diverse, and include all crocodiles, lizards, snakes, and tuataras. Under modern classification systems, even birds are considered diapsids, since they evolved from diapsid ancestors and are nested within the diapsid clade. While some diapsids have lost either one hole (lizards), or both holes (snakes), or even have a heavily restructured skull (modern birds), they are still classified as diapsids based on their ancestry. There are at least 7,925 species of diapsid reptile existing in environments around the world today (nearly 18,000 when birds are included).
The name Diapsida means "two arches", and diapsids are traditionally classified based on their two ancestral skull openings (temporal fenestrae) posteriorly above and below the eye. This arrangement allows for the attachment of larger, stronger jaw muscles, and enables the jaw to open more widely. A more obscure ancestral characteristic is a relatively long lower arm bone (the radius), compared to the upper arm
Dill (Anethum graveolens), depending on where it is grown, is either a perennial or annual herb. It is the sole species of the genus Anethum, though classified by some botanists in a related genus as Peucedanum graveolens (L.) C.B.Clarke.
Dill grows to 40–60 cm (16–24 in), with slender stems and alternate, finely divided, softly delicate leaves 10–20 cm (3.9–7.9 in) long. The ultimate leaf divisions are 1–2 mm (0.039–0.079 in) broad, slightly broader than the similar leaves of fennel, which are threadlike, less than 1 mm (0.039 in) broad, but harder in texture. The flowers are white to yellow, in small umbels 2–9 cm (0.79–3.5 in) diameter. The seeds are 4–5 mm (0.16–0.20 in) long and 1 mm (0.039 in) thick, and straight to slightly curved with a longitudinally ridged surface.
Dill originated within an area around the Mediterranean and the South of Russia. Zohary and Hopf remark, "wild and weedy types of dill are widespread in the Mediterranean basin and in West Asia." Although several twigs of dill were found in the tomb of Amenhotep II, they reported the earliest archeological evidence for its cultivation comes from late Neolithic lakeshore settlements in Switzerland. Traces have
Felinae is a subfamily of the family Felidae which includes the genera and species listed below. Most are small to medium-sized cats, although the group does include some larger animals, such as the Cougar and Cheetah. The earliest records of the Felinae are ascribed Felis attica from the late Miocene (9 Ma) of western Eurasia.
Media related to Felinae at Wikimedia Commons Data related to Felinae at Wikispecies
The La Plata dolphin or Franciscana (Pontoporia blainvillei) is found in coastal Atlantic waters of southeastern South America. Taxonomically, it is a member of the river dolphin group and the only one that actually lives in the ocean and saltwater estuaries, rather than inhabiting exclusively freshwater systems.
The La Plata dolphin is the only species in its genus, and is often placed in its own family, the Pontoporiidae. It was first described by Paul Gervais and Alcide d'Orbigny in 1844 (the species epithet blainvillei commemorates the French zoologist Henri Marie Ducrotay de Blainville). The La Plata dolphin is also widely known as the Franciscana - the Argentine and Uruguayan name that has been adopted internationally. Other common names are the toninha (the Brazilian name) and cachimbo.
The La Plata dolphin has the longest beak (as a proportion of body size) of any cetacean — as much as 15% in older adults. Males grow to 1.6 m (5 ft, 3 in) and females to 1.8 m (5 ft, 10 in). The body is a greyish brown colour, with a lighter underside. The flippers are also very large in comparison with body size and are very broad, but narrow on joining the body, so are almost triangular in
Mammals are members of class Mammalia ( /məˈmeɪli.ə/), air-breathing vertebrate animals characterized by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young. Most mammals also possess sweat glands and specialized teeth. The largest group of mammals, the placentals, have a placenta which feeds the offspring during gestation. The mammalian brain, with its characteristic neocortex, regulates endothermic and circulatory systems, the latter featuring red blood cells lacking nuclei and a four-chambered heart. Mammals range in size from the 30–40 millimeter (1- to 1.5-inch) bumblebee bat to the 33-meter (108-foot) blue whale.
The word "mammal" is modern, from the scientific name Mammalia coined by Carl Linnaeus in 1758, derived from the Latin mamma ("teat, pap"). All female mammals nurse their young with milk, which is secreted from special glands, the mammary glands. According to Mammal Species of the World, 5,702 species were known in 2005. These were grouped in 1,229 genera, 153 families and 29 orders. In 2008 the IUCN completed a five-year, 17,000-scientist Global Mammal Assessment for its IUCN Red List, which counted 5,488
The Pale fox is a species of fox found in the band of African Sahel from Senegal in the west to Sudan in the east. It is one of the least studied of all canine species, in part due to its remote habitat and its sandy coat that blends in well with the desert like terrain.
The Pale fox is long-bodied with relatively short legs and a narrow muzzle. It is a relatively small canid with weight ranging from 4 - 6 pounds. The ears are large compared to other foxes but is typical of a desert inhabiting canid. The fur is generally a pale sandy color that turns white towards the belly. Its bushy tail is reddish brown and black at the tip.
The Pale fox is typically inhabits stony deserts and semi-deserts although it occasionally ventures south into the savanna. It lives in small family groups with parents and their young. During the day they rest in dug burrows that can extend up to 15 meters long and descend up to 2 meters to the ground, at dusk they venture out and forage for food, which includes plants and berries as well as rodents, reptiles and insects. It has the ability to retain water from its food, and can go almost completely without drinking.
There are five recognized subspecies of
Nine families of largely arboreal birds make up the order Piciformes, the best-known of them being the Picidae, which includes the woodpeckers and close relatives. The Piciformes contain about 67 living genera with a little over 400 species, of which the Picidae (woodpeckers and relatives) make up about half.
In general, the Piciformes are insectivorous, although the barbets and toucans mostly eat fruit and the honeyguides are unique among birds in being able to digest beeswax (although insects make up the bulk of their diet). Nearly all Piciformes have parrot-like zygodactyl feet—two toes forward and two back, an arrangement that has obvious advantages for birds that spend much of their time on tree trunks. An exception are a few species of three-toed woodpeckers. The jacamars aside, Piciformes do not have down feathers at any age, only true feathers. They range in size from the Rufous Piculet at 8 centimetres in length, and weighing 7 grams, to the Toco Toucan, at 63 centimetres long, and weighing 680 grams. All nest in cavities and have altricial young.
The Galbulidae and Bucconidae are often separated into a distinct Galbuliformes order. Analysis of nuclear genes confirms that
Przewalski's horse (pronounced /ʃɨˈvælski/ shə-VAL-skee or /zɨˈvɑːlski/ zə-VAHL-skee; Polish: [pʐɛˈvalski]; Equus ferus przewalskii, Mongolian: Тахь, Takhi) or Dzungarian horse, is a rare and endangered subspecies of wild horse (Equus ferus) native to the steppes of central Asia, specifically Mongolia. At one time extinct in the wild (in Mongolia, the last wild Przewalski's horses had been seen in 1966), it has been reintroduced to its native habitat in Mongolia at the Khustain Nuruu National Park, Takhin Tal Nature Reserve, and Khomiin Tal. The taxonomic position is still debated, and some taxonomists treat Przewalski's horse as a species, Equus przewalskii.
Common names for this equine include Asian wild horse, Przewalski's Wild Horse,Mongolian wild horse, and Tahki. Historical but obsolete names include true tarpan and Mongolian tarpan. The horse is named after the Russian geographer and explorer Nikolai Przhevalsky.
Most "wild" horses today, such as the American Mustang or the Australian Brumby, are actually feral horses descended from domesticated animals that escaped and adapted to life in the wild. In contrast, Przewalski's horse has never been successfully domesticated and
Lycaon pictus is a canid found only in Africa, especially in savannas and lightly wooded areas. It is variously called the African wild dog, African hunting dog, Cape hunting dog, painted dog, painted wolf, painted hunting dog, spotted dog, or ornate wolf.
The scientific name "Lycaon pictus" is derived from the Greek for "wolf" and the Latin for "painted". It is the only canid species to lack dewclaws on the forelimbs.
This is the largest African canid and, behind only the gray wolf, is the world's second largest extant wild canid. Adults typically weigh 18–36 kilograms (40–79 lb). A tall, lean animal, it stands about 75 cm (30 in) at the shoulder, with a head and body length of 75–141 cm (30–56 in) plus a tail of 30 to 45 cm (12 to 18 in). Animals in southern Africa are generally larger than those in eastern or western Africa.
There is little sexual dimorphism, though judging by skeletal dimensions, males are usually 3-7% larger. It has a dental formula of for a total of 42 teeth. The premolars are relatively large compared with those of other canids, allowing it to consume a large quantity of bone, much like the hyena. The heel of the lower carnassial M1 is crested
Deuterostomes (taxonomic term: Deuterostomia; from the Greek: "second mouth") are a superphylum of animals. They are a subtaxon of the Bilateria branch of the subregnum Eumetazoa, and are opposed to the protostomes. Deuterostomes are distinguished by their embryonic development; in deuterostomes, the first opening (the blastopore) becomes the anus, while in protostomes it becomes the mouth. Deuterostomes are also known as enterocoelomates because their coelom develops through enterocoely.
There are four extant phyla of deuterostomes:
Superphylum Deuterostomia was redefined in 1995 based on molecular sequence analyses when the lophophorates were removed from it and combined with other protostome animals to form superphylum Lophotrochozoa. The phylum Chaetognatha (arrow worms) may also belong here. Extinct groups may include the phylum Vetulicolia. Echinodermata, Hemichordata and Xenoturbellida form the clade Ambulacraria.
In both deuterostomes and protostomes, a zygote first develops into a hollow ball of cells, called a blastula. In deuterostomes, the early divisions occur parallel or perpendicular to the polar axis. This is called radial cleavage, and also occurs in certain
The domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris), is a subspecies of the gray wolf (Canis lupus), a member of the Canidae family of the mammalian order Carnivora. The term "domestic dog" is generally used for both domesticated and feral varieties. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and pet in human history. The word "dog" may also mean the male of a canine species, as opposed to the word "bitch" for the female of the species.
The present lineage of dogs was domesticated from gray wolves about 15,000 years ago. Though remains of domesticated dogs have been found in Siberia and Belgium from about 33,000 years ago, none of those lineages seem to have survived the Last Glacial Maximum. Although mDNA testing suggests an evolutionary split between dogs and wolves around 100,000 years ago, no specimens prior to 33,000 years ago are clearly morphologically domesticated dog.
Dogs' value to early human hunter-gatherers led to them quickly becoming ubiquitous across world cultures. Dogs perform many roles for people, such as hunting, herding, pulling loads, protection, assisting police and military, companionship, and, more
The Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) is the tallest and heaviest of all living penguin species and is endemic to Antarctica. The male and female are similar in plumage and size, reaching 122 cm (48 in) in height and weighing anywhere from 22 to 45 kg (49 to 99 lb). The dorsal side and head are black and sharply delineated from the white belly, pale-yellow breast and bright-yellow ear patches. Like all penguins it is flightless, with a streamlined body, and wings stiffened and flattened into flippers for a marine habitat.
Its diet consists primarily of fish, but can also include crustaceans, such as krill, and cephalopods, such as squid. In hunting, the species can remain submerged up to 18 minutes, diving to a depth of 535 m (1,755 ft). It has several adaptations to facilitate this, including an unusually structured hemoglobin to allow it to function at low oxygen levels, solid bones to reduce barotrauma, and the ability to reduce its metabolism and shut down non-essential organ functions.
The Emperor Penguin is perhaps best known for the sequence of journeys adults make each year in order to mate and to feed their offspring. The only penguin species that breeds during the
Eryngium is a genus in the family Apiaceae of about 230 species of annuals and perennials with hairless and usually spiny leaves, and dome-shaped umbels of flowers resembling those of thistles. The genus has a cosmopolitan distribution, with the centre of diversity in South America. Some species are native to rocky and coastal areas, but the majority are grassland plants. Common names include Sea-holly and Eryngo, the former typically being applied to coastal species, and the latter to grassland species.
The flowers are clustered in tight umbels, with a whorl of spiny basal bracts.
Eryngium maritimum is a perennial plant native to Europe and often found on sea shores. It produces a basal rosette, from which grow flowering spikes with stiffly spiny foliage and stems. These can reach around 50 cm in height. It is often grown in gardens for its metallic bluish flowers and upper foliage. The basal foliage is a very conspicuous pale grey or silvery green, from which the stiff, lightly branching flowering stems rise up.
Related species are grown as ornamental plants in gardens, and these may also be called "sea holly", though the majority are not associated with littoral (sea-shore)
The gymnosperms are a group of seed-producing plants that includes conifers, cycads, Ginkgo, and Gnetales. The term "gymnosperm" comes from the Greek word gymnospermos (γυμνόσπερμος), meaning "naked seeds", after the unenclosed condition of their seeds (called ovules in their unfertilized state). Their naked condition stands in contrast to the seeds and ovules of flowering plants (angiosperms), which are enclosed within an ovary. Gymnosperm seeds develop either on the surface of scales or leaves, often modified to form cones, or at the end of short stalks as in (Ginkgo).
The gymnosperms and angiosperms together compose the spermatophytes or seed plants. By far the largest group of living gymnosperms is the conifers (pines, cypresses, and relatives), followed by cycads, Gnetophytes (Gnetophyta, Ephedra and Welwitschia), and Ginkgo (a single living species).
In early classification schemes, the gymnosperms (Gymnospermae) were regarded as a "natural" group. There is conflicting evidence on the question of whether the living gymnosperms form a clade. The fossil record of gymnosperms includes many distinctive taxa that do not belong to the four modern groups, including seed-bearing
The haplorhines, the "dry-nosed" primates (the Greek name means "simple-nosed"), are members of the clade Haplorhini: the prosimian tarsiers and the anthropoids. The anthropoids are the catarrhines (Old World monkeys and apes, including humans) and the platyrrhines (New World monkeys).
The omomyids are an extinct group of prosimians, believed to be more closely related to the tarsiers than to any strepsirrhines, and are considered the most primitive haplorhines.
Haplorhines share a number of derived features that distinguish them from the strepsirrhine "wet-nosed" primates (whose Greek name means "curved nose"), the other suborder of primates from which they parted in evolution some 63 million years ago. The haplorhines, including tarsiers, have all lost the function of the terminal enzyme which manufactures vitamin C, while the strepsirrhine prosimians, like most other orders of mammals, have retained this enzyme and the ability to manufacture vitamin C. The haplorhine upper lip, which has replaced the ancestral rhinarium found in strepsirrhines, is not directly connected to their nose or gum, allowing a large range of facial expressions. Their brain to body ratio is significantly
Homininae is a subfamily of Hominidae that includes humans, gorillas, chimpanzees, and some extinct relatives; it comprises all hominids that arose after the split from orangutans (Ponginae). The Homininae cladogram has three main branches, which lead to gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans. There are several extant species of chimpanzees and gorillas, but only one human species remains, although several sub-species of Homo sapiens still existed 30,000 years ago. Organisms in this class are described as hominine or hominines.
Until 1980, the family Hominidae contained only humans, with the great apes in the family Pongidae. Later discoveries led to a revision of classification, with Hominidae uniting the great apes (now in the sub-family Ponginae) and humans (in the sub-family Homininae). Further discoveries indicated that gorillas and chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than they are to orangutans, leading to their current placement in Homininae as well.
The subfamily Homininae can be further subdivided into three tribes, each with only a single living genus: Gorillini (gorillas), Panini (chimpanzees), and Hominini (humans and their extinct relatives). The early Late
The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is a bear native largely within the Arctic Circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is the world's largest land carnivore and also the largest bear, together with the omnivorous Kodiak Bear, which is approximately the same size. A boar (adult male) weighs around 350–680 kg (770–1,500 lb), while a sow (adult female) is about half that size. Although it is closely related to the brown bear, it has evolved to occupy a narrower ecological niche, with many body characteristics adapted for cold temperatures, for moving across snow, ice, and open water, and for hunting the seals which make up most of its diet. Although most polar bears are born on land, they spend most of their time at sea. Their scientific name means "maritime bear", and derives from this fact. Polar bears can hunt their preferred food of seals from the edge of sea ice, often living off fat reserves when no sea ice is present.
The polar bear is classified as a vulnerable species, with eight of the nineteen polar bear subpopulations in decline. For decades, large scale hunting raised international concern for the future of the species but
The red panda (Ailurus fulgens, or shining-cat), is a small arboreal mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China and related to raccoons, skunks and weasels. It is the only extant species of the genus Ailurus and the family Ailuridae. Slightly larger than a domestic cat, it has reddish-brown fur, a long, shaggy tail, and a waddling gait due to its shorter front legs. It feeds mainly on bamboo, but is omnivorous and may also eat eggs, birds, insects, and small mammals. It is a solitary animal, mainly active from dusk to dawn, and is largely sedentary during the day.
The red panda has been classified as Vulnerable by IUCN because its population is estimated at fewer than 10,000 mature individuals. Although red pandas are protected by national laws in their range countries, their numbers in the wild continue to decline mainly due to habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching, and inbreeding depression.
The red panda has been previously classified in the families Procyonidae (raccoons) and Ursidae (bears), but recent research has placed it in its own family Ailuridae, in superfamily Musteloidea along with Mustelidae and Procyonidae. Two subspecies are recognized.
Ailuropoda is the only extant genus in the ursid (bear) subfamily Ailuropodinae. It contains one living and four fossil species of giant panda.
Only one species — Ailuropoda melanoleuca — currently exists; the other four species are prehistoric chronospecies. Despite its taxonomic classification as a carnivoran, the giant panda has a diet that is primarily herbivorous, which consists almost exclusively of bamboo.
Giant pandas are descended from Ailurarctos, which lived during the late Miocene.
Formerly, the red, or lesser, panda (Ailurus fulgens) was considered closely related to giant pandas. It is not considered a bear, however, and is now classified as the sole living representative of a different carnivore family (Ailuridae).
Bottlenose dolphins, the genus Tursiops, are the most common and well-known members of the family Delphinidae, the family of oceanic dolphins. Recent molecular studies show the genus contains two species, the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus), instead of one. Research in 2011 revealed a third species, the Burrunan dolphin (Tursiops australis). They inhabit warm and temperate seas worldwide.
Bottlenose dolphins live in groups typically of 10-30 members, called pods, but group size varies from single individuals up to more than 1,000. Their diets consist mainly of forage fish. Dolphins often work as a team to harvest fish schools, but they also hunt individually. Dolphins search for prey primarily using echolocation, which is similar to sonar. They emit clicking sounds and listen for the return echos to determine the location and shape of nearby items, including potential prey. Bottlenose dolphins also use sound for communication, including squeaks and whistles emitted from the blowhole and sounds emitted through body language, such as leaping from the water and slapping their tails on the water surface.
The Feliformia ("cat-like" carnivorans, also Feloidea) are a suborder within the order Carnivora and includes cats (large and small), hyenas, mongooses, civets and related taxa. The other suborder of Carnivora is Caniformia ("dog-like" carnivorans). One shared characteristic distinguishes Carnivora from all other mammals: the possession of the four carnassial teeth in the front of the jaw.
The separation of Carnivora into the broad groups of feliforms and caniforms is widely accepted, as is the definition of Feliformia and Caniformia as suborders (sometimes superfamilies). The classification of feliforms as part of the Feliformia suborder or under separate groupings continues to evolve.
Systematic classifications dealing with only extant taxa include all feliforms into the Feliformia suborder, though variations exist in the definition and grouping of families and genera. The extant families as reflected in the taxa chart at right and the discussions in this article reflect the most contemporary and well supported views (as at the time of writing this article). Molecular phylogenies show the Feliformia to be monophyletic.
Systematic classifications dealing with both extant and
Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. A hare less than one year old is called a leveret. Four species commonly known as types of hare are classified outside of Lepus: the hispid hare (Caprolagus hispidus), and three species known as red rock hares (Pronolagus spp.).
Hares are very fast-moving animals; the European brown hare (Lepus europaeus) is able to run at speeds of up to 72 km/h (45 mph). They live solitarily or in pairs, while a "drove" is the collective noun for a group of hares.
A common type of hare in Arctic North America is the snowshoe hare, replaced farther south by the black-tailed jackrabbit, white-tailed jackrabbit, and other species.
Normally a shy animal, the European brown hare changes its behavior in spring, when hares can be seen in broad daylight chasing one another around meadows; this appears to be competition between males to attain dominance (and hence more access to breeding females). During this spring frenzy, hares can be seen "boxing"; one hare striking another with its paws (probably the origin of the term "mad as a March hare"). For a long time, this had been thought to be intermale competition, but closer observation has
The genus Murraya comprises 12 species in the family Rutaceae, including the Curry Tree. This genus, along with genera Clausena and Glycosmis within the same family, are a major source of carbazole alkaloids. Parts of these trees are used in folk medicine and the leaves of M. koenigii are and ingredient in curry. The genus has important horticultural uses in landscaping, as well.
Pantherinae is the subfamily of the family Felidae, which includes the genera Panthera, Uncia and Neofelis.
The divergence of Pantherinae from Felinae has been ranked between six and ten million years ago. DNA analysis suggests that the snow leopard Uncia uncia is basal to the entire Pantherinae and should be renamed Panthera uncia. There is also evidence of distinct markers for the mitochondrial genome for Felidae.
Another DNA based study has suggested that the branching order was Panthera tigris first, followed by Panthera onca, Panthera leo, and the last two sister species: Panthera pardus and Panthera uncia.
The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is the largest of the true foxes and the most geographically spread member of the Carnivora, being distributed across the entire Northern Hemisphere from the Arctic Circle to North Africa, Central America and Asia. Its range has increased alongside human expansion, having been introduced to Australia, where it is considered harmful to native mammal and bird populations. Because of these factors, it is listed as Least Concern for extinction by the IUCN. It is included among the IUCN's list of the "world's 100 worst invasive species".
The red fox originated from smaller-sized ancestors from Eurasia during the Middle Villafranchian period, and colonised North America shortly after the Wisconsian glaciation. Among the true foxes, the red fox represents a more progressive form in the direction of carnivory. Apart from its large size, the red fox is distinguished from other fox species by its ability to adapt quickly to new environments and, unlike most of its related species, is not listed as endangered anywhere. Despite its name, the species often produces individuals with abnormal colourings, including albinos and melanists. Forty-five subspecies are
Vertebrates /ˈvɜrtɨbrəts/ are animals that are members of the subphylum Vertebrata /-ɑː/ (chordates with backbones and spinal columns). Vertebrates include the overwhelming majority of the phylum chordata, with currently about 64,000 species described. Vertebrates include the jawless fishes, bony fishes, sharks and rays, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds. Extant vertebrates range in size from the frog species Paedophryne amauensis, at as little as 7.7 mm (0.3 inch), to the blue whale, at up to 33 m (110 ft). Vertebrates make up about 4% of all described animal species; the rest are invertebrates, which lack backbones.
The vertebrates traditionally include the hagfishes, which do not have proper vertebrae, though their closest living relatives, the lampreys, do have vertebrae. Hagfishes do, however, possess a cranium. For this reason, the vertebrate subphylum is sometimes referred to as "Craniata" when discussing morphology. Molecular analysis since 1992 has suggested that the hagfishes are most closely related to lampreys, and so also are vertebrates in a monophyletic sense. Others consider them a sister group of vertebrates in the common taxon of Craniata.
The Cape fox (Vulpes chama), also called the cama fox or the silver-backed fox, is a small fox.
It has black or silver gray fur with flanks and underside in light yellow. The tip of its tail is always black.
The Cape fox tend to be 45 to 61 cm (17.7–24 inches) long, not including a 30 to 40 cm (11.8-15.75 inch) tail. It is 28 to 33 cm (11–13 in) tall at the shoulder, and usually weighs from 3.6 to 5 kg (8–11 lbs).
It inhabits mainly open country, from open grassland plains with scattered thickets to semidesert scrub, and also extending into fynbos. It is widespread in Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa, occurring in most parts of the Western and Northern Cape provinces, the Eastern Cape (excluding the southeastern side), the Free State, western and northwestern KwaZulu-Natal and the North-West province. It also occurs in Lesotho, a high mountainous region.
The Cape fox is nocturnal and it is mainly active at night and is most active just before dawn or after dusk; it can be spotted during the early mornings and early evenings. During the day, it typically shelters in burrows underground, holes, hollows, or dense thickets, and it is an active digger that will excavate its own
Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals of the clade Dinosauria. They first appeared during the Triassic period, approximately 230 million years ago, and were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for 135 million years, from the beginning of the Jurassic (about 200 million years ago) until the end of the Cretaceous (65.5 million years ago), when the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event led to the extinction of most dinosaur groups at the close of the Mesozoic Era. The fossil record indicates that birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs during the Jurassic Period, and consequently they are considered a subgroup of dinosaurs in modern classification systems. Some birds survived the extinction event that occurred 65 million years ago, and their descendants continue the dinosaur lineage to the present day.
Dinosaurs are a varied group of animals from taxonomic, morphological and ecological standpoints. Birds, at over 9,000 living species, are the most diverse group of vertebrates besides perciform fish. Using fossil evidence, paleontologists have identified over 500 distinct genera and more than 1,000 different species of non-avian dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are represented on every continent
The leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) is a small wild cat of South and East Asia. Since 2002 it has been listed as Least Concern by IUCN as it is widely distributed but threatened by habitat loss and hunting in parts of its range. There are twelve leopard cat subspecies, which differ widely in appearance.
The leopard cat's name is derived from the leopard-like spots prevalent in all subspecies, but its relation to the leopard is distant.
Leopard cats are about the size of a domestic cat, but more slender with longer legs and well-defined webs between the toes. Their small head is marked with two prominent dark stripes, their short and narrow muzzle white. There are two dark stripes running from the eyes to the ears, and smaller white streaks running from the eyes to the nose. The backs of their moderately long and rounded ears are black with a central white spot. Body and limbs are marked with black spots of varying size and color, and along the back are two to four rows of elongated spots. The tail is about half the size of their head-body-length and spotted with a few indistinct rings near the black tip. The background color of their spotted fur is tawny with a white chest
Protists ( /ˈproʊtɨst/) are a diverse group of eukaryotic microorganisms. Historically, protists were treated as the kingdom Protista, which includes mostly unicellular organisms that do not fit into the other kingdoms, but this group is contested in modern taxonomy. Instead, it is "better regarded as a loose grouping of 30 or 40 disparate phyla with diverse combinations of trophic modes, mechanisms of motility, cell coverings and life cycles."
The protists do not have much in common besides a relatively simple organization—either they are unicellular, or they are multicellular without specialized tissues. This simple cellular organization distinguishes the protists from other eukaryotes, such as fungi, animals and plants.
The term protista was first used by Ernst Haeckel in 1866. Protists were traditionally subdivided into several groups based on similarities to the "higher" kingdoms: the unicellular "animal-like" protozoa, the "plant-like" protophyta (mostly unicellular algae), and the "fungus-like" slime molds and water molds. These traditional subdivisions, largely based on superficial commonalities, have been replaced by classifications based on phylogenetics (evolutionary
The swift fox (Vulpes velox) is a small light orange-tan fox around the size of a domestic cat found in the western grasslands of North America, such as Montana, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. It also lives in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta in Canada, where it was previously extirpated. It is closely related to the kit fox and the two species are sometimes known as subspecies of Vulpes velox because hybrids of the two species occur naturally where their ranges overlap.
The swift fox lives primarily in short-grass prairies and deserts. It became nearly extinct in the 1930s as a result of predator control programs, but was successfully reintroduced later. Currently, the conservation status of the species is considered by the IUCN as Least Concern owing to stable populations elsewhere.
Like most canids, the swift fox is an omnivore, and its diet includes grasses and fruits as well as small mammals, carrion, and insects. In the wild, its lifespan is three to six years, and it breeds once annually, from late December to March, depending on the geographic region. Pups are born anywhere from March to mid-May, and are weaned at six to seven weeks old.
The swift fox is closely related
The fennec fox or fennec (Vulpes zerda) is a small nocturnal fox found in the Sahara of North Africa. Its most distinctive feature is its unusually large ears, which serve to dissipate heat. Its name comes from the Arabic word فنك (fanak), which means fox, and the species name zerda comes from the Greek word xeros which means dry, referring to the fox's habitat. The fennec is the smallest species of canid in the world. Its coat, ears, and kidney functions have adapted to high-temperature, low-water, desert environments. In addition, its hearing is sensitive enough to hear prey moving underground. It mainly eats insects, small mammals, and birds.
The fennec has a life span of up to 14 years in captivity. Its main predators are the African varieties of eagle owl. Families of fennecs dig out dens in sand for habitation and protection, which can be as large as 120 m (1,292 sq ft) and adjoin the dens of other families. Precise population figures are not known but are estimated from the frequency of sightings; these indicate that the animal is currently not threatened by extinction. Knowledge of social interactions is limited to information gathered from captive animals. The species is
The panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca, lit. "black and white cat-foot"), also known as the giant panda to distinguish it from the unrelated red panda, is a bear native to central-western and south western China. It is easily recognized by its large, distinctive black patches around the eyes, over the ears, and across its round body. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the panda's diet is 99% bamboo. Pandas in the wild will occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, rodents or carrion. In captivity they may receive honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, or bananas along with specially prepared food.
The giant panda lives in a few mountain ranges in central China, mainly in Sichuan province, but also in the Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. As a result of farming, deforestation and other development, the panda has been driven out of the lowland areas where it once lived.
The panda is a conservation reliant endangered species. A 2007 report shows 239 pandas living in captivity inside China and another 27 outside the country. Wild population estimates vary; one estimate shows that there are about 1,590 individuals living in the wild,
The hoary fox (Lycalopex vetulus), also called raposinha-do-campo (Portuguese for "meadow fox") or the hoary zorro, is a species of zorro or "false" fox endemic to Brazil. Unlike many other foxes, it feeds primarily on small invertebrates such as insects.
The hoary fox has a short muzzle, small teeth, a short coat, and slender limbs. The upper part of the body is grey, and the underside of the body is cream or fawn. The tail is black on the tip with a marked dark stripe along the upper surface, which in male animals, may extend all the way along the back to the nape of the neck. The ears and outside part of the legs are reddish or tawny, and the lower jaw is black. Some melanistic individuals have also been reported.
It is small for a fox, weighing only 3 to 4 kilograms (6.6 to 8.8 lb), with a head and body length of 58 to 72 centimetres (23 to 28 in), and a tail 25 to 36 centimetres (9.8 to 14 in). Together with its slender form, the small size of the hoary fox makes it an agile and fast-running animal, while its relatively weak teeth adapt it to feeding on invertebrates, rather than larger prey.
Hoary foxes are nocturnal, and largely solitary outside of the breeding season. It
Theropoda (theropod /ˈθɛrəpɒd/; suborder name Theropoda /θɨˈrɒpɵdə/, from Greek meaning "beast feet") is both a suborder of bipedal saurischian dinosaurs, and a clade consisting of that suborder and its descendants (including modern birds). Dinosaurs belonging to the suborder Theropoda were primarily carnivorous, although a number of theropod groups evolved herbivory, omnivory, and insectivory. Theropods first appeared during the Carnian age of the late Triassic period about 230 million years ago (Ma) and included the sole large terrestrial carnivores from the Early Jurassic until at least the close of the Cretaceous, about 65 Ma. In the Jurassic, birds evolved from small specialized coelurosaurian theropods, and are today represented by 9,900 living species.
Among the features linking theropod dinosaurs to birds are the three-toed foot, a furcula (wishbone), air-filled bones, brooding of the eggs, and (in some cases) feathers.
While historically generalized as exclusively carnivorous dinosaurs, theropods in fact displayed a wide range of diets. All early finds of theropod fossils showed them to be primarily carnivorous. Theropod specimens known to scientists in the 19th and early
Chordates, members of the phylum Chordata, are deuterostome animals possessing a notochord, a hollow dorsal nerve cord, pharyngeal slits, an endostyle, and a post-anal tail for at least some period of their life cycles. Taxonomically, the phylum includes the subphyla Vertebrata, including mammals (and thus humans), fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds; Tunicata, including salps and sea squirts; and Cephalochordata, comprising the lancelets.
The phylum Hemichordata including the acorn worms has been presented as a fourth chordate subphylum, but it now is usually treated as a separate phylum. It, along with the echinoderm phylum, including starfish, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers and their kin, are the chordates closest relatives. Primitive chordates are known from at least as early as the Cambrian explosion.
There are more than 60,000 living species of chordates, about half of which are bony fish of the class osteichthyes. The world's largest animal, the blue whale, and fastest animal, the peregrine falcon, are chordates.
Tunicate larvae have both a notochord and a nerve cord which are lost in adulthood. Cephalochordates have a notochord and a nerve cord (but no brain or specialist
Bothrops jararaca is a venomous pit viper species found in southern Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina. The species name is derived from the Tupi words yarará and ca, which means "large snake." Within its range, it is often abundant and is an important cause of snakebite. No subspecies are currently recognized.
This is a slender and terrestrial species that grows to a maximum length of 160 cm (63 in), although the average length is much less.
The head scalation includes 5-12 intersupraoculars that are weakly keeled, 7-9 supralabials (usually 8) of which the second is fused with the prelacunal to form a lacunolabial, and 9-13 sublabials (usually 10-12). Midbody, there are 20-27 dorsal scales (usually 23-25). The ventrals number 170-216 (rarely 218) and the 51-71 subcaudals are mostly paired.
The color pattern is extremely variable, consisting of a dorsal ground color that may be tan, brown, gray, yellow, olive, or almost maroon. Midbody, this color is usually somewhat lighter than the head, anterior and posterior. This is overlaid with a series of pale-edged, dark brown subtriangular or trapezoidal markings on either side of the body, the apices of which reach the vertebral
Equidae (sometimes known as the horse family) is the taxonomic family of horses and related animals, including the extant horses, donkeys, and zebras, and many other species known only from fossils. All extant species are in the genus Equus. Equidae belongs to the order Perissodactyla, which includes the extant tapirs and rhinoceros, and still more fossils.
The term equid refers to any member of this family, including any equine.
The oldest known fossils assigned to Equidae date from the early Eocene, 54 million years ago. They formerly were assigned to the genus Hyracotherium, but the type species of that genus now is regarded to be not a member of this family, but the other species have been split off into different genera. These early Equidae were fox-sized animals with three toes on the hind feet, and four on the front feet. They were herbivorous browsers on relatively soft plants, and already adapted for running. The complexity of their brains suggest that they already were alert and intelligent animals. Later species reduced the number of toes, and developed teeth more suited for grinding up grasses and other tough plant food.
The family became relatively diverse during the
Eutheria (/juːˈθɪəriə/; from Ancient Greek ευθήριον, euthērion, meaning "true/good beasts") is the clade consisting of primates, armadillos, and all other mammals—in many orders—that are more closely related to them than they are to marsupials. Placentalia is the clade originating with the last common ancestor of extant eutherians. Since Placentalia therefore includes all living eutherians, the nonplacental eutherians are necessarily extinct; the picture to the right shows a fossil of one such animal, Eomaia.
Eutherians are distinguished from noneutherians by various features of the feet, ankles, jaws and teeth. One of the major differences between placental and nonplacental eutherians is that placentals lack epipubic bones, which are present in all other fossil and living mammals (monotremes and marsupials).
The oldest known eutherian species is Juramaia sinensis, dated at 160 million years ago from the Jurassic in China. The previously earliest known fossil eutherian, Eomaia scansoria, was also from China and is dated to the Early Cretaceous period, about 125 million years ago.
"Eutheria" was introduced by Thomas Henry Huxley in 1880, meant to be broader in definition than
The Falkland Islands wolf (Dusicyon australis), also known as the warrah and occasionally as the Falkland Islands dog, Falkland Islands fox or Antarctic wolf, was the only native land mammal of the Falkland Islands. This endemic canid became extinct in 1876, the first known canid to have gone extinct in historical times. It was the only modern species in the genus Dusicyon.
Traditionally it had been supposed that the most closely related genus was Lycalopex, including the culpeo, which has been introduced to the Falkland Islands in modern times. However, in 2009, a cladistic analysis of DNA identified the Falkland Island wolf's closest living relative as the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus)—an unusually long-legged, fox-like South American canid, from which it separated about 6.7 million years ago.
The Falkland Islands Wolf existed on both West and East Falkland, but Charles Darwin was uncertain if they were differentiated varieties. Its fur had a tawny colour. The tip of the tail was white. Its diet is unknown, but, due to the absence of native rodents on the Falklands, probably consisted of ground-nesting birds such as geese and penguins, grubs and insects, as well as seashore
The nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), or the nine-banded, long-nosed armadillo, is a medium-sized mammal. It is found in North, Central, and South America, making it the most widespread of the armadillos. Its ancestors originated in South America, and remained there until 3 million years ago, when the formation of the Isthmus of Panama allowed them to enter North America as part of the Great American Interchange. The nine-banded armadillo is a solitary, mainly nocturnal animal, found in many kinds of habitats, from mature and secondary rainforests to grassland and dry scrub. It is an insectivore, feeding chiefly on ants, termites, and other small invertebrates. The armadillo can jump 3–4 ft (91–120 cm) straight in the air if sufficiently frightened, making it a particular danger on roads.
The nine-banded armadillo evolved in a warm, rainy environment, and is still most commonly found in regions resembling its ancestral home. As a very adaptable animal, though, it can also be found in scrublands, open prairies, and tropical rainforests. It cannot thrive in particularly hot or dry environments, as its large surface area, which is not well insulated by fat, makes it
The Tibetan sand fox (Vulpes ferrilata) is a species of true fox endemic to the high Tibetan Plateau in Nepal, China, Sikkim, and Bhutan, up to altitudes of about 5300 m. It is classed as Least Concern for extinction by the IUCN, on account of its widespread range in the Tibetan Plateau's steppes and semi-deserts.
It is sometimes referred to as the Tibetan fox, or simply as the sand fox, but this terminology is confusing because the corsac fox (Vulpes corsac), which lives in arid environments north and west of the Tibetan Plateau, is often called the "sand fox" or "Tibetan fox" as well. Rüppell's fox (Vulpes rueppellii) is also known as the "sand fox".
Tibetan foxes are small and compact, with soft, dense coats and conspicuously narrow muzzles and bushy tails. Their muzzles, crowns, necks, backs and lower legs are tan to rufous coloured, while their cheeks, flanks, upper legs and rumps are grey. Their tails have white tips. The short ears are tan to greyish tan on the back, while the insides and undersides are white. Adult Tibetan foxes are 60 to 70 centimetres (24 to 28 in) from head to body (juveniles are somewhat smaller) and a tail length of 29 to 40 centimetres (11 to 16 in).
The flowering plants (angiosperms), also known as Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants. Angiosperms are seed-producing plants like the gymnosperms and can be distinguished from the gymnosperms by a series of synapomorphies (derived characteristics). These characteristics include flowers, endosperm within the seeds, and the production of fruits that contain the seeds.
The ancestors of flowering plants diverged from gymnosperms around 245–202 million years ago, and the first flowering plants known to exist are from 140 million years ago. They diversified enormously during the Lower Cretaceous and became widespread around 100 million years ago, but replaced conifers as the dominant trees only around 60–100 million years ago.
These distinguishing characteristics taken together have made the angiosperms the most diverse and numerous land plants and the most commercially important group to humans. The major exception to the dominance of terrestrial ecosystems by flowering plants is the coniferous forest.
Fossilized spores suggest that higher plants (embryophytes) have lived on the land for at least 475 million years. Early land plants reproduced
Mammuthus meridionalis, or the southern mammoth, is an extinct species of mammoth endemic to Europe and central Asia from the Pleistocene, living from 2.5–1.5 mya.
With a height of about 4 m. (13 ft) and estimated weight of 10 tons, M. meridionalis is one of the largest proboscideans to have ever lived, along with other larger species of mammoth, and the earlier Deinotherium. It had robust twisted tusk, common of mammoths. Its molars had low crowns and a small number of thick enamel ridges, adapted to a woodland diet of leaves and shrubs, this indicates it lived on a relatively warm climate which makes more probable that it lacked dense fur.
Plant and fossils found with the remains show that M. meridionalis was living in a time of mild climate, generally as warm or slightly warmer than Europe experiences today. Deciduous mixed wood provided its habitad and food, which compromised mostly of tree-browse: oak, ash, beech and other familiar European trees, as well as some that are now exotic to the region, such as hemlock, wing nut and hickory. Further east, discoveries at Ubeidiyah (Israel) and Dmanisi (Georgia) show the early mammoth living in a partially open habitat with grassy
The Apiaceae (or Umbelliferae), commonly known as carrot or parsley family, is a group of mostly aromatic plants with hollow stems. The family is large, with more than 3,700 species spread across 434 genera, it is the sixteenth largest family of flowering plants. Included in this family are the well known plants: angelica, anise, arracacha, asafoetida, caraway, carrot, celery, centella asiatica, chervil, cicely, coriander/cilantro, cumin, dill, fennel, hemlock, lovage, Queen Anne's Lace, parsley, parsnip, sea holly, and the now extinct silphium.
Most Apiaceae are annual, biennial or perennial herbs (frequently with the leaves aggregated toward the base), though a minority are shrubs or trees. Their leaves are of variable size and alternately arranged, or alternate with the upper leaves becoming nearly opposite. In some taxa the texture is leathery, fleshy, or even rigid, but always with stomata. They are petiolate or perfoliate and more or less sheathing, the blade usually dissected and pinnatifid, but entire in some genera. Most commonly crushing leaves emits a marked smell, aromatic to foetid, but absent in some members. The flowers are nearly always aggregated in terminal
Armadillos are New World placental mammals with a leathery armor shell. The Dasypodidae are the only surviving family in the order Cingulata, part of the superorder Xenarthra, along with the anteaters and sloths. The word armadillo in Spanish means "little armored one". The Aztecs called them āyōtōchtli [aːjoː'toːt͡ʃt͡ɬi], Nahuatl for “turtle-rabbit”: āyōtl ['aːjoːt͡ɬ] (turtle) and tōchtli ['toːt͡ʃt͡ɬi] (rabbit).
About 10 extant genera and 20 extant species of armadillo have been described, some of which are distinguished by the number of bands on their armor. Their average length is about 75 cm (30 in), including tail; the giant armadillo grows up to 150 cm (59 in) and weighs up to 59 kg (130 lb), while the pink fairy armadillos are diminutive species with an overall length of 12 to 15 cm (5 to 6 in). All species are native to the Americas, where they inhabit a variety of environments. Armadillos species are primarily found in South and Central America, particularly in Paraguay and surrounding areas. Many species are endangered. Some species groups, such as the long-nosed armadillos, are widely distributed over the Americas, whereas others, such as the fairy armadillos, are
Balaenoptera is a genus of Balaenopteridae, the Rorqual whales, and contains eight species. The species Balaenoptera omurai was published in 2003. Balaenoptera is the most diverse genus of its family, the only other member being the Humpback Whale, Megaptera novaeangliae.
External Link: Society for Marine Mammalogy List of Marine Mammal Species and Subspecies Retrieved July 31, 2011.
The bush dog (Speothos venaticus) is a canid found in Central and South America, including Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, the Guianas, Paraguay, northeast Argentina (Misiones province) and Brazil (from the Amazon rainforest to the state of Amazonas). In spite of its extensive range, it is very rare in most areas except in Suriname; it was first identified by scientists as fossils in Brazilian caves and believed by them to be extinct. It is the only living species in its genus, Speothos.
In Brazil it is called cachorro-vinagre ("vinegar dog") or cachorro-do-mato ("bush dog"). In Spanish-speaking countries it is called perro vinagre ("vinegar dog"), zorro vinagre ("vinegar fox"), perro de agua ("water dog"), or perro de monte ("bush dog").
The bush dog (Speothos venaticus) has soft long brownish-tan fur, with a lighter reddish tinge on the head, neck and back and a bushy tail, while the underside is dark, sometimes with a lighter throat patch. Adults typically have 55–75 cm (22–30 in) of head and body, plus 13 cm (5 in) of tail, a shoulder height of 20–30 cm (8–12 in) and weigh 5–8 kg (11–18 lb). Legs and snout are short relative to body length: the typical
Elephas recki is an extinct species related to the Asian elephant Elephas maximus. At up to 15 feet (4.5 metres) in shoulder height, it was one of the largest elephant species to have ever lived. It is believed that E. recki ranged throughout Africa between 3.5 and 1 million years ago. The Asian Elephant is the only extant member of the genus. E. recki was a successful grass eating elephant that lived throughout the Pliocene and the Pleistocene until it was pushed to extinction, perhaps by competition with members of the genus Loxodonta, the African elephants of today.
M. Beden identified five subspecies of Elephas recki, from oldest to youngest:
New research indicates that the ranges for all five subspecies overlap, and that they are not separated in time as previously proposed. The research also found a wide range of morphological variation, both between the supposed subspecies and between different specimens previously identified as belonging to the same subspecies. The degree of temporal and geographical overlap, along with the morphological variation in E. recki suggests that the relationships between any subspecies are more complicated than previously indicated.
The order Falconiformes is a group of about 290 species of birds that comprises the diurnal birds of prey. Raptor classification is difficult and the order is treated in several ways.
Traditionally, all the raptors are grouped into four families in this single order. However, in Europe, it has become common to split the order into two: the falcons and caracaras remain in the order Falconiformes (about 60 species in 4 groups), and the remaining 220-odd species (including the Accipitridae – eagles, hawks, and many others) are put in the separate order Accipitriformes. The idea that Falconiformes should be divided into smaller orders comes from the suggestion that the order may not share a single lineage that is exclusive of other birds, but instead are descended independently from different lineages. Their shared characteristics would then be the result of convergent evolution. An additional suggestion is that the Cathartidae (New World Vultures) are not Falconiformes at all, but are more closely related to the storks, and so belong either in the stork's order Ciconiiformes, or in their own separate order, the Cathartiformes. However, morphological evidence supports the common
The subphylum Hexapoda (from the Greek for six legs) constitutes the largest (in terms of number of species) grouping of arthropods and includes the insects as well as three much smaller groups of wingless arthropods: Collembola, Protura, and Diplura (all of these were once considered insects). The Collembola (or springtails) are very abundant in terrestrial environments. Hexapods are named for their most distinctive feature: a consolidated thorax with three pairs of legs. Most other arthropods have more than three pairs of legs.
Hexapods have bodies divided into an anterior head, thorax, and posterior abdomen. The head is composed of a presegmental acron that usually bears eyes (absent in Protura and Diplura), followed by six segments, all closely fused together, with the following appendages:
The mouth lies between the fourth and fifth segments and is covered by a projection from the sixth, called the labrum (upper lip). In true insects (class Insecta) the mouthparts are exposed or ectognathous, while in other groups they are enveloped or endognathous. Similar appendages are found on the heads of Myriapoda and Crustacea, although these have secondary antennae.
The thorax is
The Neanderthals (English pronunciation /niˈændərˌθɔls/, /niˈændərˌtɔls/, /niˈændərˌtɑls/ or /neɪˈɑndərˌtɑls/) are a now-extinct species or subspecies within the genus Homo and closely related to modern humans. They are known from fossil specimens dating to the Pleistocene period and found in Europe and parts of western and central Asia. The term "Neanderthal", a shortening of "Neanderthal man", is sometimes spelled Neandertal, the modern spelling of the Neander Valley in Germany where the species was first discovered.
Neanderthals are classified alternatively as a subspecies of Homo sapiens (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) or as a separate human species (Homo neanderthalensis). The first proto-Neanderthal traits appeared in Europe as early as 600,000–350,000 years ago. Proto-Neanderthal traits are occasionally grouped with another phenetic 'species', Homo heidelbergensis, or a migrant form, Homo rhodesiensis.
The youngest Neanderthal finds include Hyena Den (UK), considered older than 30,000 years ago, while the Vindija (Croatia) Neanderthals have been re-dated to between 33,000 and 32,000 years ago. No definite specimens younger than 30,000 years ago have been found; however,
An alpaca (Vicugna pacos) is a domesticated species of South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in appearance.
Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador, and northern Chile at an altitude of 3,500 m (11,500 ft) to 5,000 m (16,000 ft) above sea level, throughout the year. Alpacas are considerably smaller than llamas, and unlike llamas, they were not bred to be beasts of burden, but were bred specifically for their fiber. Alpaca fiber is used for making knitted and woven items, similar to wool. These items include blankets, sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, a wide variety of textiles and ponchos in South America, and sweaters, socks, coats and bedding in other parts of the world. The fiber comes in more than 52 natural colors as classified in Peru, 12 as classified in Australia and 16 as classified in the United States.
In the textile industry, "alpaca" primarily refers to the hair of Peruvian alpacas, but more broadly it refers to a style of fabric originally made from alpaca hair, but now often made from similar fibers, such as mohair, Icelandic sheep wool, or even high-quality English wool. In trade,
The Apiales are an order of flowering plants. The families given at right are those recognized in the APG III system. This is typical of the newer classifications, though there is some slight variation, and in particular the Torriceliaceae may be divided.
Under this definition, well-known members include carrots, celery, parsley, and ivy.
The order Apiales is placed within the asterid group of eudicots as circumscribed by the APG III system. Within the asterids, Apiales belongs to an unranked group called the campanulids, and within the campanulids, it belongs to a clade known in phylogenetic nomenclature as Apiidae. In 2010, a subclade of Apiidae named Dipsapiidae was defined to consist of the three orders Apiales, Paracryphiales, and Dipsacales.
The circumscriptions of some of the families have changed. In 2009, one of the subfamilies of Araliaceae was shown to be polyphyletic.
The present understanding of the Apiales is fairly recent and is based upon comparison of DNA sequences by phylogenetic methods.
Under the Cronquist system, only the Apiaceae and Araliaceae were included here, and the restricted order was placed among the rosids rather than the asterids. The Pittosporaceae
The Archaea (/ɑrˈkiːə/ ( listen) or /ɑrˈkeɪːə/ ar-KEE-ə or ar-KAY-ə; singular: archaeon or archeon) constitute a domain of single-celled microorganisms. These microbes have no cell nucleus or any other membrane-bound organelles within their cells.
In the past Archaea had been classed with bacteria as prokaryotes (or Kingdom Monera) and named archaebacteria, but this classification is regarded as outdated. In fact, the Archaea have an independent evolutionary history and show many differences in their biochemistry from other forms of life, and so they are now classified as a separate domain in the three-domain system. In this system, the phylogenetically distinct branches of evolutionary descent are the Archaea, Bacteria and Eukaryota. Archaea are further divided into four recognized phyla, but many more phyla may exist. Of these groups, the Crenarchaeota and the Euryarchaeota are the most intensively studied. Classification is still difficult, because the vast majority have never been studied in the laboratory and have only been detected by analysis of their nucleic acids in samples from the environment.
Archaea and bacteria are quite similar in size and shape, although a few
The curry tree (Assamese: নৰসিংহ, Bengali: কারী পাতা, Sinhala: කරපිංචා, Tamil:கருவேப்பிலை, Kannada:ಕರಿಬೇವು, Telugu:కరివేపాకు, Malayalam: കറിവേപ്പിലOriya: ଭୃସଙ୍ଗ ପତ୍ର, Hindi: करीपत्ता, कड़ीपत्ता, मीठा नीम, मीठा नीम पत्ता, Marathi: कढीलिंब, Gujarati: મીઠો લીમડો, કરીપત્તા, કડીપત્તા), Myanmar: ပျဉ်းတော်သိမ်, (Murraya koenigii; syn. Bergera koenigii, Chalcas koenigii) ހިކަނދިފަތް(hikandhi fay) Dhivehi is a tropical to sub-tropical tree in the family Rutaceae, which is native to India.
Its leaves are used in many dishes in India and neighbouring countries. Often used in curries, the leaves generally go by the name "curry leaves", though they are also translated as "sweet neem leaves" in most Indian languages (as opposed to ordinary neem leaves which are bitter).
It is a small tree, growing 4–6 m (13-20 feet) tall, with a trunk up to 40 cm diameter. The leaves are pinnate, with 11-21 leaflets, each leaflet 2–4 cm long and 1–2 cm broad. They are highly aromatic. The flowers are small, white, and fragrant. The small black shiny berries are edible, but their seeds are poisonous.
The species name commemorates the botanist Johann König.
The leaves are highly valued as seasoning in southern and
Eryngium foetidum is a tropical perennial and annual herb in the family Apiaceae. It is native to Mexico and South America, but is cultivated worldwide. In the United States, where it is not well known outside latino communities, the name culantro sometimes causes confusion with Coriandrum sativum (also in Apiaceae), the leaves of which are known as cilantro, and which culantro is said to taste like.
Commonly known as culantro in English-speaking Caribbean countries, Eryngium foetidum is also referred to as chadon, shadon, shado beni (or shadow benny), or bandhania. Other English common names include: recao (Puerto Rico), long coriander, wild or Mexican coriander, fitweed, spiritweed, duck-tongue herb, sawtooth or saw-leaf herb, and sawtooth coriander.
In relation to Southeast Asian cooking, the Vietnamese name ngò gai or (less often) the Thai name phak chi farang are sometimes used. In India, it is used mainly in the northeastern state of Manipur, where it is known by the local name awa phadigom or sha maroi.
E. foetidum is widely used in seasoning and marinating in the Caribbean, particularly in Panama, Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago. It is also used extensively in Thailand,
A fungus ( /ˈfʌŋɡəs/; plural: fungi or funguses) is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds (British English: moulds), as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, Fungi, which is separate from plants, animals, and bacteria. One major difference is that fungal cells have cell walls that contain chitin, unlike the cell walls of plants, which contain cellulose. These and other differences show that the fungi form a single group of related organisms, named the Eumycota (true fungi or Eumycetes), that share a common ancestor (a monophyletic group). This fungal group is distinct from the structurally similar myxomycetes (slime molds) and oomycetes (water molds). The discipline of biology devoted to the study of fungi is known as mycology, which is often regarded as a branch of botany, even though genetic studies have shown that fungi are more closely related to animals than to plants.
Abundant worldwide, most fungi are inconspicuous because of the small size of their structures, and their cryptic lifestyles in soil, on dead matter, and as symbionts of plants, animals, or other fungi.
The Hominidae ( /hɒˈmɪnɨdiː/; also known as great apes), form a taxonomic family of primates, including four extant genera: chimpanzees and bonobos (Pan), gorillas (Gorilla), humans (Homo), and orangutans (Pongo).
The term "hominid" is also used in the more restricted sense as hominins or "humans and relatives of humans closer than chimpanzees". In this usage, all hominid species other than Homo sapiens are extinct.
A number of known extinct genera are grouped with humans in the Homininae subfamily, others with orangutans in the Ponginae subfamily. The most recent common ancestor of the Hominidae lived roughly 14 million years ago, when the ancestors of the orangutans speciated from the ancestors of the other three genera. The ancestors of the Hominidae family had already speciated from those of the Hylobatidae family, perhaps 15 million to 20 million years ago.
In the early Miocene, about 22 million years ago, the many kinds of arboreally adapted primitive catarrhines from East Africa suggest a long history of prior diversification. Fossils at 20 million years ago include fragments attributed to Victoriapithecus, the earliest Old World Monkey. Among the genera thought to be in the
The kit fox (Vulpes macrotis) is a fox species of North America. Its range is primarily in the southwestern United States and northern and central Mexico. Some mammalogists classify it as conspecific with the swift fox, V. velox, but molecular systematics imply that the two species are distinct.
The northernmost part of its range is the arid interior of Oregon. Its eastern limit is southwestern Colorado. It can be found south through Nevada, Utah, southeastern California, Arizona, New Mexico, and into western Texas.
The kit fox is the smallest species of the Canidae family found in North America. It has large ears, between 71 and 95 mm (2.8 and 3.75 in), that help the fox lower its body temperature and give it exceptional hearing. This species exhibits sexual dimorphism, with the male being slightly larger. The average species weight is between 1.6 and 2.7 kg (3.5 and 6.0 lbs). The body length is 455 to 535 mm (18 to 21 in). The tail adds another 250–340 mm (9.85–13.4 in) to its length.
It usually has a gray coat, with rusty tones, and a black tip to its tail. Unlike the gray fox, it has no stripe along the length of its tail. Its color ranges from yellowish to gray, and the back
Oceanic dolphins are the members of the Delphinidae family of cetaceans. These marine mammals are related to whales and porpoises. They are found worldwide, mostly in the shallower seas of the continental shelves. As the name implies, these dolphins tend to be found in the open seas, unlike the river dolphins, although a few species such as the Irrawaddy dolphin are coastal or riverine.
Six of the larger species in the Delphinidae, the Orca and the Pilot (long-finned and short-finned), Melon-headed, Pygmy Killer and False Killer Whales, are commonly called whales, rather than dolphins; they are also sometimes collectively known as "blackfish".
The Delphinidae are the most diverse of the cetacean families, with numerous variations between species. They range in size from 1.2 metres (3.9 ft) and 40 kilograms (88 lb) (Haviside's dolphin), up to 9 metres (30 ft) and 10 tonnes (the Orca). Most species weigh between approximately 50 and 200 kilograms (110 and 440 lb). They typically have a curved dorsal fin, a clear 'beak' at the front of the head, and a forehead melon, although there are exceptions to all of these rules. They have a wide range of colors and patterns.
Penguins (order Sphenisciformes, family Spheniscidae) are a group of aquatic, flightless birds living almost exclusively in the southern hemisphere, especially in Antarctica. Highly adapted for life in the water, penguins have countershaded dark and white plumage, and their wings have evolved into flippers. Most penguins feed on krill, fish, squid, and other forms of sealife caught while swimming underwater. They spend about half of their lives on land and half in the oceans.
Although all penguin species are native to the southern hemisphere, they are not found only in cold climates, such as Antarctica. In fact, only a few species of penguin live so far south. Several species are found in the temperate zone, and one species, the Galápagos Penguin, lives near the equator.
The largest living species is the Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri): on average adults are about 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in) tall and weigh 35 kg (75 lb) or more. The smallest penguin species is the Little Blue Penguin (Eudyptula minor), also known as the Fairy Penguin, which stands around 40 cm tall (16 in) and weighs 1 kg (2.2 lb). Among extant penguins, larger penguins inhabit colder regions, while smaller penguins
Rutaceae, commonly known as the rue or citrus family, is a family of flowering plants, usually placed in the order Sapindales.
Species of the family generally have flowers that divide into four or five parts, usually with strong scents. They range in form and size from herbs to shrubs and small trees.
The most economically important genus in the family is Citrus, which includes the orange (C. sinensis), lemon (C. × limon), grapefruit (C. paradisi), and lime (various, mostly C. aurantifolia, the key lime). Boronia is a large Australian genus, some members of which are plants with highly fragrant flowers and are used in commercial oil production. Other large genera include Zanthoxylum, Melicope and Agathosma. There are approximatively 160 genera in the family Rutaceae:List of Rutaceae genera
Most species are trees or shrubs, a few are herbs (Boenninghausenia), frequently aromatic with glands on the leaves, sometimes with thorns. The leaves are usually opposed and compound, and without stipules. Pellucid glands, a type of oil containing cavities, are found on the leaves responsible for the aromatic smell of the family's members; traditionally they have been the primary synapomorphic
The Snares Penguin (Eudyptes robustus), also known as the Snares Crested Penguin and the Snares Islands Penguin, is a penguin from New Zealand. The species breeds on The Snares, a group of islands off the southern coast of the South Island. This is a medium-small, yellow-crested penguin, at a size of 50–70 cm (20–28 in) and a weight of 2.5–4 kg (5.5-8.8 lbs). It has dark blue-black upperparts and white underparts. It has a bright yellow eyebrow-stripe which extends over the eye to form a drooping, bushy crest. It has bare pink skin at the base of its large red-brown bill.
This penguin nests in small (10 nests) to large (1200 nests) colonies under forest cover or the open. Main colonies are located on North East Island, other colonies are established on Broughton Island as well as the rocky Western Chain. The Snares Penguin's main prey is krill, supplemented by squid and small fish. The species is currently rated as 'vulnerable' by the IUCN as its breeding range is restricted to one small island group. The current population is estimated at around 25,000 breeding pairs.
Snares Penguins were originally collected in 1874 and named atrata by Frederick Wollaston Hutton. However, Hutton
The Yellow-eared Toucanet (Selenidera spectabilis) is a species of bird in the Ramphastidae family. It is found in humid forests in Central America and the Chocó. A somewhat aberrant member of the genus Selenidera, it is relatively large (total length approximately 38 cm [15 in]) and the plumage of the sexes only differ in that the male has a yellow auricular streak, while the female has a brown crown. It weighs 175-245 grams (6.2-8.7 oz.)