Thursday, January 05, 2006

An Animal You Should Know: The Aardvark

One of the purposes of this blog is to introduce readers animals that they otherwise might know nothing about. The Aardvark, AKA Earthpig or Antbear is one cool beast that you should get to know. The only Aardvark I've seen was in the Philadelphia zoo. Recent molecular studies have placed them as a sort of proto-ungulate closer to pigs and cattle than to the anteaters and pangolins which were previously thought to be its closest relatives.

Looking like a cross between a rabbit and a pig these ant and termite eating critters live throughout Africa. They use their powerful claws to break into termite mounds and can dig faster than several men with shovels in soft dirt.

The link below gives some additional info from The Ultimate Ungulate Page - an internet guide to the world's hoofed mammals. It's a very interesting site worth exploring. You will definitely find some large mammals that you never knew existed like the Vietnamese Saola, only discovered in 1992.


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