Standard Article


  1. Jeheskel Shoshani1,2

Published Online: 29 JAN 2003

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0001552



How to Cite

Shoshani, J. 2003. Mammalia. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Elephant Research Foundation, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA

  2. 2

    University of Asmara, Asmara, Eritrea

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 29 JAN 2003


Mammalia is a monophyletic taxon whose diagnostic features include a dentary bone in its lower jaw (for living and extinct members), hair (for living and some extinct members), and mammary glands (for living taxa). Earliest mammals lived in the late Triassic period (Mesozoic era) coexisting with dinosaurs; they were small (rat-size), nocturnal, insectivorous, plantigrade, possessing a muscular prehepatic diaphragm (inferred), had developed senses of hearing and smell, enlarged brains, and were endotherms (inferred).


  • mammalia;
  • dentary bone;
  • hair;
  • mammary glands;
  • enlarged brain;
  • developed sense of hearing;
  • muscular prehepatic diaphragm;
  • endotherm