Section 2

Characteristics of Mammals

• Mammals are endothermic. Endothermy enables mammals to occupy a range of habitats and sustain strenuous activity. Endothermy requires large amounts of food and oxygen.

• Mammals have a heart with two atria and two ventricles and have large lungs with a large internal surface area.

• Mammals, unlike most vertebrates, chew their food. Mammal teeth include incisors, canines, premolars, and molars.

• Some mammals digest cellulose with the aid of microorganisms. These mammals have either a rumen or a cecum that contains the symbiotic microorganisms.

• Monotremes lay eggs. Marsupials give birth to young that continue development in the mother's pouch. Placental mammals typically develop young within the uterus for longer periods than marsupials do before giving birth.


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