hippopotamus

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hippopotamus,

herbivorous, river-living mammal of tropical Africa. The large hippopotamus, Hippopotamus amphibius, has a short-legged, broad body with a tough gray or brown hide. The male stands about 5 ft (160 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs about 5 tons (4,500 kg); the female is slightly smaller. The mouth is wide, and the incisors and lower canines are large ivory tusks that grow throughout life. The eyes are near the top of the head, so the animal can see when nearly submerged. Hippopotamuses usually live in herds of about 15 animals. Much of their time is spent standing or swimming underwater, where they feed on aquatic plants; they must rise to breathe every 5 minutes or so. At night groups of animals feed on the shore. The hippopotamus is hunted for meat, and Africans have used the hide for shields and whips. Once widespread in Africa, the animal is now rare except in unsettled areas and reserves. The pygmy hippopotamus, Choeropsis liberiensis, is found in W Africa. It is about 30 in. (75 cm) tall at the shoulder and weighs about 400 lb (180 kg). It tends to be solitary and spends much of its time on the shore, sleeping by day in thickets. Recent DNA studies indicate that whales are most closely related to hippopotamuses. Hippopotamuses are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Hippopotamidae.

hippopotamus

[‚hip·ə′päd·ə·məs]
(vertebrate zoology)
The common name for two species of artiodactyl ungulates composing the family Hippopotamidae.

hippopotamus

1. a very large massive gregarious artiodactyl mammal, Hippopotamus amphibius, living in or around the rivers of tropical Africa: family Hippopotamidae. It has short legs and a thick skin sparsely covered with hair
2. pigmy hippopotamus a related but smaller animal, Choeropsis liberiensis
References in periodicals archive ?
West African River Experience: Discover the underwater lives of hippopotamuses in this indoor exhibit featuring hippopotamuses, free- flying birds, crocodiles and more than 1,000 fish.
The reason given for this particular twin-birth was that the woman's husband had killed several hippopotamuses and they had revenged themselves on him by stamping their likeness on one of the twins.
Still a couple of weeks away from the April 22 opening, the tally of dead animals includes four cheetah cubs, two rhinoceroses, two hippopotamuses and two West African crown cranes that were run over by park tour buses.
These creatures include fish, crocodiles, turtles, hippopotamuses, monkeys, rodents, and antelopes.
These hoofed animals with an even number of toes include cows, sheep, goats, pigs, deer, and hippopotamuses.
Excavation at the edge of the reef also uncovered shellfish leftovers, as well as bones of land animals such as elephants, rhinoceroses, and hippopotamuses.
Fossils of antelopes, hippopotamuses, and other animals recovered near the Hadar jaw suggest that early Homo lived in an open, grassy locale with stands of trees and water nearby, the scientists contend.
For example, if one knows that hippopotamuses have an ulnar artery, one would test whether all mammals have an ulnar artery by examining hamsters rather than rhinoceroses.