Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Mammalia

Class of animals (mammals) within the subphylum Vertebrata, phylum Chordata; contains 18-35 orders (varies by authority) including Primates. Major characteristics, with a few exceptions, include mammary glands, viviparity, heterodonty, three auditory ossicles, epiphyseal disk growth of long bones, endothermy/homeothermy, a muscular respiratory diaphragm, a four-chambered heart, enucleated red blood cells, and the skin being more or less covered by hair. Three subclasses: Monotremata, Metatheria, and Eutheria.

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