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Even-toed ungulate

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Even-toed ungulate
Smileyllama.jpg
Scientific Classification
Families

Artiodactyla is a huge order of animals that have 220 living species placed in 10 families.[1] They are native to all continents except Australia and Antarctica. The members of this order are all obligate herbivores and have an even number of toes on each foot. The order Artiodactyla includes alpaca, antelope, camels, bighorn sheep, bison, bongo, buffalo, caribou, javelina, hippopotamus, deer, and pigs. Many more animals belong to this group. [2]

Anatomy

even toed giraffe

Artiodactyls have an even number of toes. The anterior part of the skull tends to be long and narrow, and they usually have horns or antlers.

The number of teeth is variable, but in many species it is smaller than the number found in odd-toed animals. Most artiodactyls have specially modified stomachs. Some artiodactyls have a four chambered stomach like cows, antelopes, and deer. It is used to further decompose cellulose into digestible components.

Reproduction

Giraffe
Female giraffes associate in groups of about a dozen members. Reproduction is polygamous with gestation lasting between 14 and 15 months. Usually giraffe have one calf. The mother gives birth standing up, usually walking. Within a few hours the baby can run, and is the size of a week-old calf. Only about 25-50% of baby giraffes reach adulthood because the fall prey to lions, leopards, and hyenas.[3]

Ecology

The majority of artiodactyls live in relatively open habitats like plains and savannas, but many also spend their time on the roads near high forested areas. A group are also found in semi-aquatic areas.

Artiodactyls are native to all continents except Australia and Antarctica. They are very common.

Uses of Artiodactyls

Artiodactyls are very useful to humans today, as well as all throughout history. Cows are very important to humans. In some countries around the world they are considered holy, like in India. Their ability to provide meat and dairy, and eating nothing but grass has made them very valuable.

Oxen are used for plowing, transportation of goods, grain-grinding, and wagon drawing. Oxen are sometimes used to skid logs in logging. Oxen are used more in less developed nations. [4]

Taxonomy

Order Artiodactyla

Gallery

References

See Also