Like many farm animals, horses possess all the major attributes that place them into the mammal category. Mammals are a class of animals that share a variety of common characteristics, including the fact that they have mammary glands.
Mammals create milk using their mammary glands and use it to feed their young. Thanks to this ability, mammals form unique bonds with their offspring that animals in other categories do not.
Mammals are all ‘warm-blooded’ animals that also have three bones in their middle ears which allow them to hear sound effectively. Apart from these specific characteristics, mammals also tend to be very intelligent, are often capable of domestication and can communicate in unique and intricate ways.
Female horses also nurse their foals with milk they produce using their own mammary glands. Horses also have coats comprised of hair that comes in a variety of beautiful colors and unique patterns.
Their hair helps to keep them safe from outdoor elements including harsh rain, wind, and extreme temperatures. Horses have 3 middle ear bones called the hammer, anvil and stirrup.
In prehistoric times, most mammal animals served only as a food source for humans. Hunting animals, mainly mammals, was the one of the ways humans survived at the time.
The ability of many mammals to be domesticated helped to turn a hunting and often nomadic way of life into a more settled, agricultural lifestyle. Being a mammal creates a unique bonding experience for animals, especially horses.
The fact that mammals have mammary glands and personally feed their own young creates a maternal bond that begins at birth. While there are rare exceptions, most mares that give birth to a foal will quickly begin to bond with them.
Horses, unlike some mammals, like to keep their babies very close and this begins immediately after they are born. Shortly after birthing a foal, mares will instinctively begin to lick off the amniotic fluid that covers their baby.
The mare will continue to lick, nuzzle and help push their baby to stand up and nurse. This bonding helps to ensure that the foal will continue to have a source of food and protection throughout their young lives.
The horse’s large eyes sit on each side of their head, creating only a couple blind spots but also allowing them to see more of what is around them. Draft horses are most often called cold-bloods due to their calm demeanor and easy-going personalities.
Some racing and competition horse breeds including Arabians and Thoroughbreds can be referred to as hot-bloods. Animals in other categories like fish, reptiles, birds and even amphibians do not get rabies.
Rabies is a frequently fatal disease that rapidly spreads to the animal’s brain and causes damage that cannot be repaired. Thankfully, there are annual vaccines available to keep our domesticated animals, including horses, safe.
Horses are unique, but they are still grouped into the larger category of mammals thanks to their backbones, mammary glands, temperature regulation, bonding capabilities, middle ear design and their coats of hair. Vertebrates are animals with a backbone which there are lots of, cats, dogs, horses, HUMANS, and many more.
The Pixie was the first known Chordate (an animal with a stiff supporting rod (notochord) along its back). In later animals, the notochord developed into a backbone. Fossil remains of the Pixie were found in the 530 millions years old mud stone deposits of the Burgess Shale in Canada.
The vertebrae surround and protect the spinal cord, which connects to the brain, thus forming the central nervous system. They inhabit every region on Earth except for the ice packs of the North Pole and the interiors of Antarctica and Greenland.
The fishes are a highly diverse group but share four common characteristics: they lack limbs, live in water, take in oxygen from the water through gills, and are ectothermic, or cold-blooded, meaning they cannot regulate their internal body temperature. Draw male The first vertebrates were the jawless fishes, which had evolved by the late Ordovician period, some 450 million years ago.
They are found mostly in deep waters on soft muddy bottoms, where they tend to lie buried except for the tip of the head. Scientists classify all jawless fish, living and extinct, in the Super class Agatha.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Jawless fish tend to have tube-shaped flexible bodies, with a skeleton made entirely of cartilage. Hagfish feed similarly on a range of prey, from soft-bodied invertebrates like worms to dead fishes.
Among the best known were members of the genus Dunkleosteus, which grew to lengths of 30 feet (10 meters) and were important predators of the Devonian seas. © Jeffrey L. Roman All living jawed cartilaginous fish are members of the Class Chondrichthyes, which contains sharks, skates, rays, and chimeras.
Cartilaginous fish are so named because their skeletons are made entirely of cartilage and contain no bones. The earliest members of this group were the first sharks, which appeared some 400 million years ago during the Devonian period.
© Comstock Images/Jupiter images Sharks are voracious predators and powerful swimmers with well-developed paired fins and strong tails. Georgette Dogma/Nature Picture Library Skates and rays are slow-moving graceful swimmers with flattened bodies and greatly expanded pectoral fins.
The undulating movement of the fins propels the animals, making them appear to almost “fly” through the water. Painting by Richard Ellis Chimeras are distantly related to sharks, skates, and rays.
Male chimeras have a clasping structure called a tentacles on the forehead and in front of each pelvic fin that is not found on any other fish species. They inhabit oceans as well as coastal rivers and estuaries, where they feed on small fishes and invertebrates.
© Jeff Roman/Alamo Bony fishes were the first vertebrates to evolve a skeleton made of hard bone instead of cartilage. They are named for their paired fins, which are webs of skin supported by rays of bone.
Lungfish are so-named because of their modified swim bladder, which allows them to get oxygen by breathing air. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Coelacanths were long thought extinct; however, two modern species were identified in the 20th century.
Modern coelacanths are large, reaching an average of 5 feet (1.5 meters) in length and weighing around 100 pounds (45 kg). The limbs are absent or greatly reduced in size in some tetra pods, such as snakes and whales.
About 400 million years ago some lobe-finned fishes began to adapt to the terrestrial world. Eventually these animals gave rise to the first amphibians during the Carboniferous Period approximately 340 million years ago.
The Class Amphibian contains more than 6,500 living species of amphibians divided among three main groups: frogs and toads, newts and salamanders, and caecilians. Frogs and toads have long, powerful hind limbs adapted for jumping, and short, stout bodies that lack tails.
The bodies of salamanders and newts are longer and more slender, with long muscular tails and two sets of limbs that are roughly the same length. Amphibians breathe air through lungs but also exchange gases across their thin, porous skin.
The ability to live in both water and land habitats is reflected in the word amphibian, which comes from the Greek word amphibious, meaning “living a double life.” Water is essential at some stages of the amphibian life cycle, especially during reproduction. The reptiles were the first vertebrates adapted to live their entire life span on dry land.
The membranes provide nutrients and water, as well as a system for gas exchange and waste removal. Other features that allowed reptiles to adapt to a land-based life included a tough, thick skin and well-developed, efficient lungs.
At present the Earth supports almost 10,000 species of reptiles, which comprise the Class Reptilia. Living reptiles are divided into four broad groups: turtles and tortoises; lizards and snakes; Tatars; and crocodiles.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Turtles and tortoises are reptiles whose bodies are encased in a bony shell. Snakes, which evolved from early lizards, most commonly inhabit areas with a mild to hot climate.
Snakes lack limbs and move by undulating their long tube like bodies. They are characterized by a bearlike snout and a series of broad scaly spines that extend down the middle of the back.
Tatars first appeared about 220 million years ago during the Triassic period; only two Tatra species exist today. This hides them from unsuspecting prey, allowing them to attack with sudden and deadly success.
The crocodiles are descended from the large reptiles that lived among the dinosaurs in prehistoric times. Together, birds, crocodiles, and dinosaurs comprise a special subgroup of vertebrates called archosaurs.
Birds are closely related to reptiles and share a common ancestor with dinosaurs. The relationship of birds and dinosaurs continues to be a key area of research and is a source of intense discussion among many scientists.
This adaptation allows birds to live in some environments that would be too cold for ectothermic such as reptiles. Birds are found on every continent, including Antarctica, and in every type of habitat, from rainforests to grasslands to tropical islands to polar ice floes.
Some birds, such as pigeons, are adapted to many environments, while others, like penguins, are limited in where they can live. Most birds are capable of flight, though some, such as ostriches and emus, have lost this ability over time and are flightless.
Birds have keen vision, a trait that helps them locate food and spot danger. The mouth and nose are enclosed within a bill, or beak, which is covered with a hard material called keratin.
Bird nests vary greatly in size and materials, as well as the locations in which they are built. Some penguin species do not use nests; instead, they lay one egg and incubate it on top of their feet.
Perching birds, which include songbirds, make up the largest group, known as the passers. Common species include sparrows, nightingales, mockingbirds, swallows, cardinals, wrens, finches, and ravens.
Mammals range in size from tiny shrews and bats weighing less than a tenth of an ounce (a few grams) to the blue whale, the largest of all animals. Most mammals are terrestrial, but a few, such as whales and porpoises, are aquatic, and one group, the bats, can fly.
Like birds, mammals are endothermic and can maintain a constant internal body temperature. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Mammals are descended from a group of small carnivorous reptiles called the therapies, which first appeared during the Permian period.
The earliest true mammals, such as Morganucodon, appeared about 200 million years ago during the late Triassic and early Jurassic periods. These primitive mammals were tiny shrew like animals that probably fed on insects and small invertebrates.
The first modern mammals had evolved by the end of the Mesozoic Era, 66 million years ago. During this time, mammals diversified into a wide range of forms adapted to different habitats and ecological niches.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Marsupials and placental mammals give birth to live young. After birth, the newborn crawls to a pouch on the mother’s abdomen, where it completes its development over several months.
Most, including kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas, are found in Australia, New Guinea, and nearby islands. This helps the fetus reach a more developed stage before birth (see “Vertebrate Embryology” in embryology).
Classification is based on a broad range of characteristics, including anatomy and genetic similarities. Rodents are identified by a pair of enlarged upper and lower front teeth well-suited for gnawing.
The highly diverse order Carnivora (“meat-eaters”) contains more than 270 species, including the canines (dogs and related species), felines (large and small cats), raccoons, bears, weasels, skunks, otters, and many others. For example, raccoons and bears are omnivorous and include fruits and other plant foods in their diet.
The aquatic pinnies (seals, sea lions, and walruses) also belong to Carnivora. The hoofed herbivorous (plant-eating) mammals commonly called ungulates are classified with several related groups in the grand order Ungulate.
Many groups in the Ungulate bear little physical resemblance to others; however, all seven orders share similar molecular and genetic characteristics not found in other animals, indicating a common ancestry. Cows, deer, pigs, sheep, giraffes, and camels are part of this group.
The grand order also includes manatees and their relatives, hoaxes, and cetaceans (whales, porpoises, and dolphins). © Eric Revert/Estonia The most-advanced mammals are the primates, which include the lemurs, lorises, carriers, monkeys, apes, and humans.
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The key feature of animals with internal skeletons is that they have a set of bones known as vertebrae which are located along the spine. Bones protect our major organs (such as lungs, heart and brain) and give our bodies shape.
The axial skeleton contains the ribs, skull and spine, and its purpose is to keep us upright. The appendicular skeleton comprises the bones in our arms, legs, shoulders and hips, and its purpose is for movement.
The adult human body has 206 bones which make up the skeleton. The smallest is called the staples or stirrup, found in the inner ear.
Attached to many of the bones are tough, white bands known as tendons. Tendons do not have any blood vessels and so take a long time to heal if damaged.
Muscles contract and relax as needed to help our bones move, as well as the arms, legs, feet, and back they support. But other joints allow us to bend, twist, and move different parts of our bodies.
Another type is the ball and socket joint, found at our shoulders and hips. Bones are held in place at joints by tissues called ligaments.
The special connections between the bones are covered with a plastic-like material called cartilage. The bones, joints, tendons, ligaments and cartilage together make up the skeletal system.
Some of our skull bones protect our brains, while others make up the structure of our faces. Without this unique system, the skull bones would collide with each other as they grow.
The animals known as vertebrates include mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. While vertebrates all have skeletons to give their bodies shape and support, invertebrates have no bones.
Many invertebrates have an exoskeleton, or a hard outer shell, to provide protection and support like bones do. Insects, crabs, lobsters, and shrimp are a few of the creatures with exoskeletons.
Our skeleton supports us every day, so we need to be good to our bones! Keep the skeleton strong by drinking milk and eating calcium-rich foods like cheese, yogurt, and dark green vegetables.
Wear protective equipment for sports such as football, soccer, lacrosse, ice hockey, horseback riding, and skateboarding. Running, jumping, walking and dancing are all weight-bearing activities that are good for bones.