Rodentia-Lagomorpha-Primata, Biology tutorial

Eutherians: rodentia, lagomorpha, primata

Features of Order Rodentia (like mice, rats, marmots, squirrels, hamsters, capybara, beavers, Guinea pigs, porcupines,) Rodentia is the order of mammals characterized by:

  • Two continuously-growing chisel-like incisors in the upper and lower jaws which must be kept short by gnawing
  • No canine teeth
  • diastema (space/gap between teeth).

40% of mammal species are rodents, and they are found in huge numbers on all continents other than Antarctica. Common rodents comprise porcupines, mice, rats, guinea pigs, squirrels, hamsters and beavers. Rodents contain sharp incisors which they utilize to gnaw wood, break in food, and bite predators. Many rodents eat seeds or plants, although some have more various diets. Few species have historically been pests, eating seeds stored by people and spreading disease.

Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) is largest extant rodent in world (weighing up to 91 kg). Its closest relative is guinea pig. Rodent is native to South America where it lives in savannas and intense forests and lives near bodies of water. It is highly social species and can be found in groups as large as 100 individuals but generally dwell in groups of 10-20 individuals. Capybara is not threatened species although it is hunted for meat and skin. Beaver (genus Castor) is mainly nocturnal, large and semi-aquatic. Beavers contain flat and broad tails and sharp front teeth. They utilize teeth to cut down trees for wood to build lodges and dams. They construct dams to give still, deep water to protect against predators, and to float food and building material. North American beaver population was once more than 60 million, but as of 1988 was 6-12 million. This population decline is because of extensive hunting for fur, for glands used as medicine and perfume, and due to their harvesting of trees and flooding of waterways may interfere with other land uses. They are second- largest rodent in world (after capybara).

Porcupines (spined pigs) are rodents with the coat of sharp spines, or quills, that animal uses for defense or camouflage from predators. They are native to Americas, southern Asia and Africa. Porcupines are the third largest of rodents (63-91 cm long; 5.4-16 kg), behind capybara and beaver. They are rounded, large and slow moving and are generally brown, grey, but rarely white. Common porcupine is herbivore; it eats herbs, leaves, twigs and plants like cabbage, clover or bark of trees. In Nigeria, meat of porcupines is eaten as delicacy (bush meat).

Mice are small rodents found all over the world. Common house mouse can be destructive, causing damage and eating up crops, and spreading disease through their faeces. Squirrels are usually small animals with bushy tails, slender bodies, and large eyes. Their fur is usually soft and silky, though much thicker in some species than others. Squirrels dwell in approximately every habitat from tropical rainforest to semi-arid desert, avoiding only high Polar Regions and driest of deserts. They are mainly herbivorous, subsisting on seeds and nuts, but several will eat insects and even small vertebrates.

Features of Order Lagomorpha (like pikas, hares, rabbits) Members of this order comprise rabbits and hares. They have in common:

  • 4 continuously-growing chisel-like incisors for gnawing
  • diastema (space/gap between teeth)
  • Wholly herbivorous
  • Strong hind legs for running and jumping.

Hares are usually wild and contain relatively longer ears than rabbits and generally larger than rabbits. Hares are born with fur on body and with open eyes, and adults just create the simple nest and hardly ever live in colonies. Rabbits have been domesticated and provide birth to hairless offspring with closed eyes, and likely to live in colonies in underground burrows. Both of the animals are found in Nigeria and are very much appreciated for their meat.

New Zealand rabbits contain well-rounded bodies; slender and muscular faces having round cheeks; large, extended back feet; and small, short front pectoral muscles, elongated perforated ears which stand straight up, bright eyes, and thick, snowy fur on the bodies. They are usually utilized for scientific research though meat is eaten as delicacy in Nigeria. Pikas are small mammals of America and parts of Europe. They contain short limbs and rounded ears. Similar to rabbits, they are herbivores.

Features of Order Primata (like humans, apes, monkeys) this is an interesting order of eutherians, in which comprises monkeys, apes and humans are accommodated. This is where we fit in together with our close relatives - monkeys and apes. As primates, we share the given features:

  • Highly developed cerebral cortex
  • Have thumbs which are opposable to varying degrees
  • Forward facing eyes
  • Omnivorous.

Apes (gibbons, gorillas and chimpanzees) are larger than monkeys and don't have tails. Their arms are also generally longer than their legs.

Human body has 206 bones of different shapes and sizes. Bones protect the internal organs and support the body as we walk, stand, run, and sit.

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