The official mammal class is mammal. The type of animal that is mammal includes warm-blooded vertebrates that have hair or fur and whose babies drink milk. Unlike other animal types such as birds and insects, all mammalian babies drink milk from their mother's body. This is one of the key ways to tell if an animal is a mammal.
What is a mammal? – 10 traits you need to know
Mammals have many other unique characteristics compared to other animal types. You can use some of these key mammal markers to identify whether an animal is a mammal:
- Warm-blooded vertebrates – Mammals are endotherms, meaning they have a constant body temperature. Mammals are also vertebrates, which means they have a backbone
- Red blood cells without nuclei – Mammals have adult (mature) red blood cells, called erythrocytes, that do not have a nucleus. This is unique compared to other vertebrates.
- Has hair or fur – Mammals usually have hair or fur. Although hair and fur are chemically similar and both are made of keratin, they are different in properties. Hair is usually longer and thinner than fur, which is usually shorter and coarser. Both are insulators for animals.
- Contains the malleus, incus, and stapes – The malleus is a small bone in the middle ear shaped like a hammer. It connects the inner surface of the eardrum to the incus. Given its shape, the name is derived from the Latin word for "mallet". The incus is shaped like an anvil and has a similar function, transmitting sound by vibrating. The stapes are stirrup-shaped bones. Together they make up the "hammer, anvil and stirrup", the three smallest bones in the human body. The stapes are actually the smallest.
- able to produce milk – Mammals contain mammary glands. These glands enable them to produce milk to feed their offspring.
- Diaphragm – There is a diaphragm between the heart and lungs of mammals
- Hinged jaw attached to the skull – Mammals have a hinged jaw that attaches directly to the skull. In contrast, all vertebrates are connected by another type of bone called a phalanx. The mammal's vocalizations allow them to grab and chew food more easily, as well as chew sideways.
- Left aortic arch – In mammals, the fourth (left) pharyngeal artery is most commonly the aortic arch. This is different from other animal types. In rare cases, mammals have a right aortic arch variant.
- Neocortex – Mammalian brains typically have a neocortex. This dedicated area allows them to both hear and see.
- Live Birth – Mammals are viviparous, which means they give birth to live babies. There are three different types of childbirth in mammals. Monotremes, marsupials, and placental mammals are discussed further below.
There are some exceptions to the mammal standard. Whales are mammals, but they are born without hair or fur, as they usually disappear after the fetal stage. Yes, that means the blue whale is actually a mammal!
Monotremes like the platypus and echidna are a whole class of egg-laying mammals, and they are the only mammals that don't have offspring. Instead, animals like the platypus and echidna actually lay eggs.
Three different types of mammals born
A rare and unusual category of mammalian parturition in which the animal lays eggs. There are only five known species of monotreme mammals on Earth, with the platypus and echidna being the best known.
Marsupial mammals give birth to their young before they are fully developed. The baby then finishes growing outside the mother's body but in a "nursery pouch". Well-known examples of marsupials include kangaroos, opossums, and wombats.
Members of this birth group had a delivery procedure that included the placenta. The presence of the placenta transfers vital nutrients between mother and offspring, helps protect the young and ensures that the fetus develops well. Placental births are most common in all mammals, such as dogs, horses, cats, and humans.
Which animals are mammals?
These are some examples of different types of mammals!
The breed changes color frequently throughout its life, with its puppy coats becoming lighter in the first few years of life and then darkening as they age.
Offspring of zebra and horse parents!
Offspring of zebra and donkey parents!
Zokors are professional diggers. They dug tunnels hundreds of feet long!
There are about 75 different species!
Everyone's stripe pattern is unique!
The Yorkie-Poo originated in the late 20th century hybrid poodle phase
yorkie bichon frize
Yorkies are available in a variety of colors including black, white, gold, gray, gold or dark brown.
These dogs are very intelligent and great for taking care of children.
The Yakuts were probably the first people to use dog sleds, so the Yakut Laika may have been one of the first sled dogs.
Yaks can live at altitudes as high as 20,000 feet, the highest of any terrestrial mammal.
A squirrel that lives in an African cave.
Woolly rhinos roamed the Earth between 3.5 million and 14,000 years ago.
Pack rats love shiny items and will steal your jewels.
The reintroduction of American bison to Alaska is considered one of the world's greatest conservation successes.
Spend most of the day underground!
Unleash a rich musk for defense!
Thoughts date back 300,000 years!
The Wire Fox Terrier was bred from the now extinct shaggy black and tan terrier for hunting foxes.
Can trek over 1000 miles per year!
The male has a top tusk to sharpen the bottom one!
Although deer are herbivores, they sometimes eat mice and birds when they catch them.
Never seen anything in the wild in 50 years!
Is it a mammal? your questions answered
From rodents to whales and everything in between, it's not always easy to distinguish which animals are mammals and which belong to another group of animals, such as fish, reptiles or amphibians. If you've ever questioned whether one of these animals is a mammal, this list is for you! Read on to learn more about which species are considered mammals and what qualifies them as such.
- Are Sharks Mammals? Some shark species can give birth alive, but are they mammals because their skeletons are made of cartilage, unlike typical fish? learn more!
- Are Bats Mammals This is a bit baffling – bats can fly, so are they birds or mammals?
- Are birds mammals? Some birds, such as kiwis, cannot fly. Does this mean birds are classified as mammals? We've done our search.
- Are humans mammals? This might sound like a dumb question, but are humans animals or mammals? If we are mammals, how are we different from other mammals?
- Are marsupials mammals? There are more than 250 species classified as marsupials. But are they mammals?
- Are penguins mammals? Penguins can swim underwater and travel across land, but they lay eggs. Do they qualify as mammals?
- Are fish mammals Some fish can breathe air, but are they mammals?
- Are chickens mammals? Chickens have feathers, a beak, and a four-chambered heart, and they lay eggs. Does that make them mammals or birds?
- Are rodents mammals? Rodents have hair, tails, teeth, and they give birth alive – is that enough to make them mammals?
- Is a dog a mammal? Have you ever wondered if man's best friend is a mammal? Read on to find out!
- Is the platypus a mammal? The platypus lays eggs, while mammals do not. They are also semi-aquatic. But is it possible that the platypus was still a mammal?
- Are seals mammals? There are more than 30 species of seals that live all over the world. They're furry, semi-aquatic, and happen to have flippers. So, are they mammals?
- Are elephants mammals? Elephants are warm-blooded vertebrates that nurse their young, but they are not covered in fur like most mammals. or are they?
- Is a tortoise a mammal? Is a tortoise a mammal or a reptile? Turtles breathe air and do not lay eggs underwater. learn more!
- Are cats mammals? How many mammalian characteristics do cats have? Is that enough to classify them as mammals?
- Is an armadillo a mammal? With a hairless body, an armadillo does look like a reptile. But is it a reptile or a mammal?
- Are owls mammals? Owls prey on small animals, but are they considered an animal in their own right?
- Are coconuts mammals? Coconuts share some interesting characteristics with mammals, including that they have hair and milk. Read on to learn more about their similarities and differences.
- Are snakes mammals? Some snakes give birth to live young, but they are cold-blooded. Does that make a snake a mammal or a reptile?
list of mammals
Jump to the filtered list of mammals beginning with a specific letter!
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mammal! FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is considered a mammal?
Mammals are animals that have some of the above 10 characteristics. The most notable mammalian traits include having hair or fur, live birth and feeding young.
What animal is a mammal?
There are nearly 6,500 recognized mammal species and more are being discovered. Popular examples of mammals include cats, dogs, horses, elephants, whales, and humans.
Are whales mammals?
Yes! Whales are marine mammals. Amazingly, they even exhibit one of the hallmark features of mammals, even hair. Most whales have hair in the womb, though, and most disappear at or shortly after birth.
What is the largest mammal on earth?
The largest mammal on earth is the blue whale. At over 100 feet long and weighing 350,000 pounds, the blue whale is the largest animal on Earth today and the largest ever!
From what did mammals evolve?
Mammals are thought to have evolved from reptiles during the Triassic period (approximately 200 to 250 million years ago), specifically the order Therapsida.
What is the smallest mammal?
Etruscan shrews are the smallest known mammals on Earth today, measuring about 1.6 inches long and weighing less than 1 ounce.
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