Animals are multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia (also called Metazoa). Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their lives. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and independently. All animals must ingest other organisms or their products for sustenance (see Heterotroph).Most known animal phyla appeared in the fossil record as marine species during the Cambrian explosion, about 542 million years ago. Animals are divided into various sub-groups, some of which are: vertebrates (birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish); molluscs (clams, oysters, octopuses, squid, snails); arthropods (millipedes, centipedes, insects, spiders, scorpions, crabs, lobsters, shrimp); annelids (earthworms, leeches); sponges; and jellyfish.The word "animal" comes from the Latin word animalis, meaning "having breath". In everyday non-scientific usage the word excludes humans – that is, "animal" is often used to refer only to non-human members of the kingdom Animalia; often, only closer relatives of humans such as mammals, or mammals and other vertebrates, are meant. The biological definition of the word refers to all members of the kingdom Animalia, encompassing creatures as diverse as sponges, jellyfish, insects, and humans.
An alligator is a crocodilian in the genus Alligator of the family Alligatoridae. The two living species are the American alligator (A. mississippiensis) and the Chinese alligator (A. sinensis). In addition, several extinct species of alligator are known from fossil remains. Alligators first appeared during the Oligocene epoch about 37 million years ago.The name "alligator" is probably an anglicized form of el lagarto, the Spanish term for "the lizard", which early Spanish explorers and settlers in Florida called the alligator. Later English spellings of the name included allagarta and alagarto.A typical adult American alligator's weight and length is 360 kg (790 lb) and 4.0 m (13.1 ft), but they sometimes grow to 4.4 m (14 ft) long and weigh over 450 kg (990 lb). The largest ever recorded, found in Louisiana, measured 5.84 m (19.2 ft). The Chinese alligator is smaller, rarely exceeding 2.1 m (6.9 ft) in length. In addition, it weighs considerably less, with males rarely over 45 kg.No average lifespan for an alligator has been measured. In 1937, a one-year-old specimen was brought to the Belgrade Zoo in Serbia from Germany. It is now 76 years old. Although no valid records exist about its date of birth, this alligator, officially named Muja, is considered the oldest alligator living in captivity.
Butterflies are part of the class of Insects in the Moth order Lepidoptera. Adult butterflies have large, often brightly coloured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight.
Dolphins are cetacean mammals closely related to whales and porpoises. There are almost forty species of dolphin in 17 genera. They vary in size from 1.2 m (4 ft) and 40 kg (90 lb) (Maui's dolphin), up to 9.5 m (30 ft) and 10 tonnes (9.8 long tons; 11 short tons) (the orca or killer whale). They are found worldwide, mostly in the shallower seas of the continental shelves and are carnivores, eating mostly fish and squid. The family Delphinidae, the largest in the order Cetacea, evolved relatively recently, about ten million years ago during the Miocene. The name is originally from Greek δελφίς (delphís), "dolphin", which was related to the Greek δελφύς (delphus), "womb". The animal's name can therefore be interpreted as meaning "a 'fish' with a womb". The name was transmitted via the Latin delphinus (the romanization of the later Greek δελφῖνος – delphinos), which in Medieval Latin became dolfinus and in Old French daulphin, which reintroduced the ph into the word. The term mereswine (that is, "sea pig") has also historically been used.The term 'dolphin' can be used to refer to, under the suborder Odontoceti, all the species in the family Delphinidae (marine dolphins including orcas and pilot whales) and the river dolphin families Iniidae (South American river dolphins), Pontoporiidae (La Plata dolphin), Lipotidae (Yangtze river dolphin) and Platanistidae (Ganges river dolphin and Indus river dolphin). This term has often been misused in the US, mainly in the fishing industry, where all small cetaceans (dolphins and porpoises) are considered porpoises, while the fish dorado is called dolphin fish. In common usage the term 'whale' is used only for the larger cetacean species, while the smaller ones with a beaked or longer nose are considered 'dolphins'. The name 'dolphin' is used casually as a synonym for bottlenose dolphin, the most common and familiar species of dolphin. Killer whales also belong to the family Delphinidae and therefore qualify as dolphins. Though the terms 'dolphin' and 'porpoise' are sometimes used interchangeably, porpoises are not considered dolphins and have different physical features such as a shorter beak and spade-shaped teeth; they also differ in their behavior. Porpoises belong to the family Phocoenidae and share a common ancestry with the Delphinidae.A group of dolphins is called a "school" or a "pod". Male dolphins are called "bulls", females "cows" and young dolphins are called "calves".
Elephants are large mammals of the family Elephantidae and the order Proboscidea. Traditionally, two species are recognised, the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), although some evidence suggests that African bush elephants and African forest elephants are separate species (L. africana and L. cyclotis respectively). Elephants are scattered throughout sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Elephantidae are the only surviving family of the order Proboscidea; other, now extinct, families of the order include mammoths and mastodons. Male African elephants are the largest surviving terrestrial animals and can reach a height of 4 m (13 ft) and weigh 7,000 kg (15,000 lb). All elephants have several distinctive features the most notable of which is a long trunk or proboscis, used for many purposes, particularly breathing, lifting water and grasping objects. Their incisors grow into tusks, which can serve as weapons and as tools for moving objects and digging. Elephants' large ear flaps help to control their body temperature. Their pillar-like legs can carry their great weight. African elephants have larger ears and concave backs while Asian elephants have smaller ears and convex or level backs.Elephants are herbivorous and can be found in different habitats including savannahs, forests, deserts and marshes. They prefer to stay near water. They are considered to be keystone species due to their impact on their environments. Other animals tend to keep their distance, predators such as lions, tigers, hyenas and wild dogs usually target only the young elephants (or "calves"). Females ("cows") tend to live in family groups, which can consist of one female with her calves or several related females with offspring. The groups are led by an individual known as the matriarch, often the oldest cow. Elephants have a fission-fusion society in which multiple family groups come together to socialise. Males ("bulls") leave their family groups when they reach puberty, and may live alone or with other males. Adult bulls mostly interact with family groups when looking for a mate and enter a state of increased testosterone and aggression known as musth, which helps them gain dominance and reproductive success. Calves are the centre of attention in their family groups and rely on their mothers for as long as three years. Elephants can live up to 70 years in the wild. They communicate by touch, sight, smell and sound; elephants use infrasound, and seismic communication over long distances. Elephant intelligence has been compared with that of primates and cetaceans[by whom?]. They appear to have self-awareness and show empathy for dying or dead individuals of their kind.African elephants are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), while the Asian elephant is classed as endangered. One of the biggest threats to elephant populations is the ivory trade, as the animals are poached for their ivory tusks. Other threats to wild elephants include habitat destruction and conflicts with local people. Elephants are used as working animals in Asia. In the past they were used in war; today, they are often put on display in zoos and circuses. Elephants are highly recognisable and have been featured in art, folklore, religion, literature and popular culture.
Foxes are small-to-medium-sized, omnivorous mammals belonging to several genera of the Canidae family. Foxes are slightly smaller than a medium-size domestic dog, with a flattened skull, upright triangular ears, a pointed, slightly upturned snout, and a long bushy tail (or brush).Twelve species belong to the monophyletic group of Vulpes genus of "true foxes". Approximately another 25 current or extinct species are always or sometimes called foxes; these foxes are either part of the paraphyletic group of the South American foxes and the outlying group, which consists of Bat-eared fox, Gray fox, and Island fox. Foxes are found on every continent except Antarctica. By far the most common and widespread species of fox is the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) with about 47 recognized sub-species. The global distribution of foxes, together with their widespread reputation for cunning, has contributed to their prominence in popular culture and folklore in many societies around the world. The hunting of foxes with packs of hounds, long an established pursuit in Europe, especially in the British Isles, was exported by European settlers to various parts of the New World.
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