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 ?
We conducted a cross-sectional, interviewer-administered household survey in 3 villages with access to riverbeds where hippopotamuses died: Cliikwa, Chigoma, and Chimpamaba.
The second part of the investigation involved going into the field to view 3 of the areas where most of the infected hippopotamuses were found.
At 1 of the sites, previous human interaction with dead hippopotamuses was evident.
A large outbreak of cutaneous anthrax among humans in the Chama District of Zambia was associated with physical contact with meat from hippopotamuses that had died of anthrax, specifically skinning, carrying, or cutting the meat.
From this investigation we found that the greatest risk for having anthrax diagnosed came from carrying, skinning, or butchering hippopotamuses.
Deformed children are not generally considered by the Nuer to be hippopotamuses, only this one.
84 from E-P's Nuer Religion Nonetheless, for some reason Ramsey thought the Nuer drown their deformed babies, believing them hippopotamuses.
In fact, hippopotamuses look and act more like pigs, which are their relatives.
When hippopotamuses are angry, they huff and puff and make loud, deep, honking sounds.
Many big mammals are endangered, but common hippopotamuses are doing well in the places where they still live.
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.