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Sculptures by Phyllis Bone


Only living member - the aardvark - Orycteropus afer .

The postcranial skeleton is very unspecialised - strong resemblance to some very early ungulates. The limbs have undergone no elongation, and the hoove-like claws are modified a little for burrowing.


Behaviour & Ecology:

The aardvark is nocturnal, resting in a burrow during the day and foraging in termite mounds at night. Little else is known about the aardvark.

The specialisation of the aardvark make it vulnerable to changes in its termite food supply as a result of habitiat disturbance.The aardvark is also at risk from hunting - some indigeneous cultures use its hair and claws for medicinal and 'magic' purposes.



Aardvark skullAardvark skeleton
Aardvark skullAardvark skeleton

The skull of the aardvark is highly specialised, adapted for its diet of ants & termites (Compare with the anteater/pangolin).

Features of note include:

  • Long and tubular snout.
  • Bristles surround small mouth.
  • Ten cheek teeth on either jaw.
  • No incisors or canines.
  • Long sticky tongue to gather ants.

These teeth are constructed of small tubules of dentine compressed together, giving the Tubulidentata its name. They have cement instead of enamel.