Artiodactyla


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Artiodactyla

[‚ärd·ē·ō′dak·tə·lə]
(vertebrate zoology)
An order of terrestrial, herbivorous mammals characterized by having an even number of toes and by having the main limb axes pass between the third and fourth toes.

Artiodactyla

 

an order of mammals. Each foot has two or four digits; the third and fourth digits are most highly developed because they bear most of the body weight. The toes are enclosed in horny caps, or hooves. The molars are alveolar or tuberculate and are adapted for grinding tough vegetable food. The clavicle is absent. Unlike perissodactyls, the third trochanter of the femur is absent. Artiodactyls are vegetarians. The stomach is most often compound, with several compartments, and is adapted for digesting coarse fodder.

There are two suborders of artiodactyls: Nonruminantia and Ruminantia. The suborder Nonruminantia comprises the families Hippopotamidae and Suidae. The Ruminantia embrace six families: Camelidae, Tragulidae, Cervidae, Antilocapridae, Bovidae, and Giraffidae. The Camelidae are sometimes regarded as the separate suborder Tylopoda or as a separate order. Most agricultural animals, including swine, camels, cattle, sheep, and goats, are artiodactyls.

REFERENCES

Sokolov, I.I. Kopytnye zveri (Otriady Perissodactyla i Artiodactyla). Moscow-Leningrad, 1959, (Fauna SSSR: Mlekopitaiushchie, vol. 1, part 3.)
Mlekopitaiushchie Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 1. Edited by V. G. Geptner and N. P. Naumov. Moscow, 1961.

I. I. SOKOLOV

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