Part D

Vertebrate Diversity

14. Use a field guide to find out more about the following mammalian orders: Cetacea, Xenarthra, Pholidota, and

Chiroptera. Answer the following questions about these mammals in your lab report:

a. Cetaceans, such as whales and dolphins, are marine mammals. Cetaceans are hairless except for a few bristles. Why are cetaceans classified as mammals?

b. Some mammals—including some members of Xenarthra (anteaters and armadillos) and Pholidota (pangolins)—lack teeth. Which characteristics do these animals share with other mammals?

c. Like many birds, chiropterans (bats) have wings, fly, and are endotherms. Which characteristics distinguish these mammals from birds?

Analysis and Conclusions

1. List the characteristics that distinguish mammals from other vertebrates.

2. List several characteristics you observed that most mammals share.

3. Birds are also endotherms. Which structure in birds serves the same function as hair in mammals? Explain.

4. Compare the data you collected on the teeth from different animal skulls with the diet of each of those animals. How does the type of teeth that it has help with the particular diet that each animal has?

Further Inquiry

Find out how mammalian brains are different from the brains of other vertebrates. What adaptive advantage might these differences provide mammals?

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