Photo of the Day #68: Aardvarks


Everyone knows that “A” is for “Aardvark” (unless you’d prefer the scientific name Orycteropus afer, in which case “O” is for “Orycteropus“), but that’s all most people seem to know about this animal. It almost looks like two people were having a fight over a pig, pulling at both ends in some sort of “Just-so” story that ended up with the creation of the first Aardvark, but the animals pictured above have nothing to do with pigs at all. Indeed, Aardvarks belong to their own order, Tubulidentata, within the Afrotheria, seemingly being a very old lineage that has not changed very much through time.


  1. #1 Billy (A Liberal Disabled Vet)
    December 15, 2007

    I always thought that A was for Aunt Annie’s Alligator. Of course, I majored in history, so my vertebrate zoology is a little shakey.

    Then again, thanks to my parents, I always thought that C was “Camel on the Ceiling, LSD”

  2. #2 Zach Miller
    December 15, 2007

    There’s that term again–“Afrotheria.” I can’t get a straight answer on whether it’s a monophyletic term or not, and if it is, what groups it includes. Aardvarks, let it be known, are among the most awesome mammals on the planet right now, possibly THE most awesome after the pangolin.

  3. #3 Hai~Ren
    December 15, 2007

    AFAIK, Afrotheria has been used to encompass the following orders: Afrosoricida (golden moles, tenrecs and elephant shrews), Macroscelidea (elephant shrews), Tubulidentata (aardvarks), Proboscidea, Sirenia, Hyracoidea, and the extinct Embrithopoda and Desmostylia.

    If the Wikipedia page on Afrotheria is accurate, it appears that the closest living relatives of aardvarks are actually the elephant shrews. Hmm.

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