D. J. Scott D. J. Scott
SciencePhysicsChemistry ► Organic Chemistry ► BiologyEukaryologyZoologyIchthyologyHerpatologyMammalogy



Mammals. We've all heard about them. A few of us have probably even seen one. But, what are mammals? Where do they come from? Also known as "milk-suckers" or "milk-lizards", mammals are a highly derived group of synapsid reptile. More specifically, mammals are therapsids of the cyndont variety. The milk-lizards are one of only two major groups of endothermic or warm-blooded reptile, the other major group being the dinosaurs or avian reptiles. Milk-lizards and all other reptiles can be distinguished from their fellow tetrapods or "land-fish" by the fact that they lay their eggs out of the water (when they lay eggs, that is). In contrast to their fellow warm-blooded reptiles, the dinosaurs, the majority of mammals appear to have broken from tradition by abandoning the time-honored oviparity of their ancestors in favor of the far more obscene viviparity, excreting their vulnerable young completely unprotected directly through the birth canal, often into a pouch or incubator of some kind. Like their fellow warm-blooded reptiles, the dinosaurs, mammals are very often coated in a soft, filamentous covering, increasing the likelihood they'll be spat out by predators. The most distinguishing characteristic of mammals is the delicious and nutritious lactose-rich mucus which they use to nourish their young and excrete through pores in their skin that are evolutionarily modified sweat glands.


The Primatorium

The Primatorium

The Hominid Homepage

The Hominid Homepage

Immediate Phylogeny

Parent Group

Current Group

Daughter Groups

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Domain Eucarya

Kingdom Metazoa

Phylum Chordata

Subhylum Vertebrata

Superclass Tetrapoda

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