ORDER HYRACOIDEA: THE
Three modern genera: eleven species. All in Family
- Unspecialised, plantigrade feet.
- Toes - united by a pad and ending in hoof-like
- 4 toes on fore foot, 3 on hind foot.
- Poor thermoregulation.
- Complex gut - microbial digestion sites for
breaking down fibrous material.
The Hyracoidea was once a very diverse group
including lion-sized forms and some semi-aquatic genera, almost
|Rock hyrax skull||Rock hyrax skeleton|
The most notable modern hyrax is the rock hyrax
which feeds mostly on coarse grass. Besides
Procavia, the other
two genera are
Dendrohyrax, the 'tree
Heterohyrax, the 'bush
Curiously, two species of hyrax
(P.johnstoni and H.brucei
) live in mixed groups, sharing sleeping
holes, latrines and nursery groups but not interbreeding. Competition
is avoided by their having different diets.