What is a Mammal?

Cats and dogs, elephants and bats, whales and horses and monkeys and men belong to a zoological classification called “mammals” mammals are distinguished from all other types of life by the fact that their young are fed with milk from the mammary glands of the females.

In most mammals the young are born fully formerd, instead of hatching out of eggs as young birds do. Mammals are distinguished by the hair or fur they have on all or some parts of their bodies.

They are warm-blooded, and they have a four chambered heart and a diaphragm. While most mammals live on dry land, a few, such as the whale and dolphin, live in the water. Some burrow in the ground, such as monkeys and squirrels.


The only mammals that can fly are the bats. Scientists have arranged the mammals into a number of smaller divisions, or orders. The lowest of these orders, “the monotremes”, are mammals that lay eggs.

Then we find “the ungulates”, or hoofed mammals. The “carnivorous” mammals eat flesh. The “rodents” are gnawing mammals. The “the insectivores” are animals that eat insects. The highest order is “the primates”, or mammals with nails, instead of a hoofs or claws. Monkeys, apes, and men are primates.  

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