Cats, dogs and seals

  • J. E. Webb
  • J. A. Wallwork
  • J. H. Elgood
Chapter
Part of the Classification guides book series (CLASSGUID)

Abstract

The flesh eaters among the Eutheria, with one or two exceptions such as the toothed whales, are in the groups Carnivora and Pinnipedia and here it is rare to find a vegetarian. This is not to say that meat-eaters do not take plant food or plant-eaters meat. However, the adaptations for tearing the flesh of larger animals involving powerful jaws with shearing teeth, such as the carnassials, and a particular gut structure and physiology for meat digestion, tend to preclude the use of plant material as a major item of diet. The carnivores contain the terrestrial forms (Fissipeda) and the aquatic seals and walrus (Pinnipedia). Although there is really no doubt that the pinnipedes are quite closely related to the fissipedes, it has become a matter of convenience, particularly here in the preparation of sets of matching characters, to split off this very compact group as a separate order, the Pinnipedia, and to retain the name Carnivora for the terrestrial animals.

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Copyright information

© J. E. Webb, J. A. Wallwork, J. H. Elgood 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. E. Webb
    • 1
  • J. A. Wallwork
    • 1
  • J. H. Elgood
    • 2
  1. 1.Westfield CollegeUniversity of LondonUK
  2. 2.University of IbadanNigeria

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