Linzey, Donald W. Wytheville Community College, Wytheville, Virginia.
Last reviewed:September 2020
Show previous versions
- Aardvark, published April 2016:Download PDF Get Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Aardvark, published June 2014:Download PDF Get Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Breeding and development
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A nocturnal, burrowing, insectivorous, piglike mammal (Orycteropus afer) in the order Tubulidentata. The mammalian order Tubulidentata contains a single family, Orycteropodidae, and a single extant aardvark species, Orycteropus afer (Fig. 1). Aardvarks occur throughout Africa south of the Sahara, wherever suitable habitat exists. In previous classifications, aardvarks and the fossil tubulidentates were assigned to the now-invalid order known as Edentata and were considered closely related to ungulates. However, data from mitochondrial and nuclear genes support a relationship among aardvarks, elephant shrews (family Macroscelididae), paenungulates (hyraxes, sirenians, and proboscideans), and golden moles (family Chrysochloridae). These ecologically divergent adaptive types probably originated in Africa; the molecular evidence implies that they may have arisen there from a common ancestor that existed in the Cretaceous Period, when Africa was isolated from other continents. The members of the order Tubulidentata show the results of an extreme adaptation for burrowing and for feeding on small food items (mainly termites). See also: Adaptation (biology); Africa; African mammals; Edentata; Mammalia; Tubulidentata
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 10,000 highly qualified scientists and 46 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information