Definition of mammal

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Posted by Alice ward from the Computers category at 13 Mar 2023 01:02:27 pm.
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Mammal, (class Mammalia), any member of the group of vertebrate animals in which the young are nourished with milk from special mammary glands of the mother. In addition to these characteristic milk glands, mammals are distinguished by several other unique features. Hair is a typical mammalian feature, although in many whales it has disappeared except in the fetal stage.

Definition of mammal

The mammalian lower jaw is hinged directly to the skull, instead of through a separate bone (the quadrate) as in all other vertebrates. A chain of three tiny bones transmits sound waves across the middle ear. A muscular diaphragm separates the heart and the lungs from the abdominal cavity. Only the left aortic arch persists. (In birds the right aortic arch persists; in reptiles, amphibians, and fishes both arches are retained.) Mature red blood cells (erythrocytes) in all mammals lack a nucleus; all other vertebrates have nucleated red blood cells.

Except for the monotremes (an egg-laying order of mammals comprising echidnas and the duck-billed platypus), all mammals are viviparous—they bear live young. In the placental mammals (which have a placenta to facilitate nutrient and waste exchange between the mother and the developing fetus), the young are carried within the mother’s womb, reaching a relatively advanced stage of development before birth. In the marsupials (e.g., kangaroos, opossums, and wallabies), the newborns are incompletely developed at birth and continue to develop outside the womb, attaching themselves to the female’s body in the area of her mammary glands. Some marsupials have a pouchlike structure or fold, the marsupium, that shelters the suckling young.

The class Mammalia is worldwide in distribution. It has been said that mammals have a wider distribution and are more adaptable than any other single class of animals, with the exception of certain less-complex forms such as arachnids and insects. This versatility in exploiting Earth is attributed in large part to the ability of mammals to regulate their body temperatures and internal environment both in excessive heat and aridity and in severe cold.
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