BHI Catalog:  Mammals


Although mammals arose in the Late Triassic Period and thus had been around as long as the dinosaurs, dinosaurs had dominated virtually every ecological niche possible for large animals. This limited mammalian diversity. After the demise of the dinosaurs, mammals now took advantage of these openings.

The mammals which appeared in the Oligocene Epoch were different, and somehow more modern, than their predecessors. For the first time, it was possible to discern most modern groups. Fossil mammals from the Oligocene Age actually resemble their present day counterparts.

Paleontologists and zoologists, both amateur and professional, may easily recognize these fossils as cats, dogs, camels, horses, rhinoceroses, rabbits, squirrels and mice. The trained eye may also note the presence of peccaries, ruminants, marsupials, hippopotamoids (anthracotheres), tapirs, mustelids, bears and raccoons. Present, but poorly represented, were bats and primates. In addition to these forms, there were some groups which are now extinct. These included the carnivorous creodonts, rodent-sized multituberculates, entelodonts (giant pigs) and pantolestids. Some very common Oligocene mammals were the oreodonts.

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Carnivores are best known for their sharp teeth and or claws, which give them the ability to both capture and dismember their prey.
Perissodactyls are an order of odd-toed ungulates that walk on their toes, which are usually covered with a thick nail referred to as a hoof.
Artiodactyls are an order of even-toed ungulates that walk with their weight born equally on their 3rd and 4th toes, which are usually covered with a thick nail referred to as a hoof.
Sloths are curiously adapted, slow-moving mammals with long claws and a multi-compartmented stomach.
Mammoths, mastodons and modern elephants.
Whales are warm-blooded marine mammals with lungs that breathe air and are considered predators.
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