You and I belong to this order of animals. As humans, we are also mammals, and share the same common characterstics as all other mammals. We are warm-blooded, hairy, have specialised teeth and auditary bones. We are air-breathing and possess mammary glands and most of us have sweat glands. Mammals give birth to more or less fully developed young which are nurtured by their mother by being fed highly nutricious milk produced by the mammary glands, which is where the name of this class comes from. Mammals are extremely diverse and have conquered all of the planet. They live in the tree tops as primates, or in burrows in the ground as rodents, and also live in water like the whales and dolphins. Some even have taken to the air in the form of bats.
Mammals come in all shapes and sizes, from very large such as elephants, to very small like mice. Some only eat meat and are the carnivores, where others only eat plant matter and are the herbivores. Others, like ourselves, are omnivores and can survive on all manner of other life forms, from animals, insects and all kinds of invertebrates, plants, trees, and fungi.
As a group we have outlived the dinosaurs which were swept aside and completely decimated during the Permian-Triassic extinction event which occured some 241 million years ago. Now, we are the dominant force on the planet, and not only have we become the first class of the earth’s creatures to break beyond our own atmosphere in exploration of the space beyond, but we have farmed and harnessed most of the planets wealth for ourselves, so much so we have the theratened the stability of the planet’s ecosystem, and we can only hope our intelligence and protective nature will save us from a self made future extinction event.
Clicking on the images below will take you to more photographs and will give you more information on the individual species.