Extant Afrotheria


Order: Tubulidentata
Family: Orycteropodidae
Species: 1

The aardvark is the only surviving species of this order. The aardvark is distinctive due to its elongated nose, large ears and curved spine. Their excellent sense of smell is used to locate and termites and ants after which they use very powerful front limbs to break into ant hills and termite nests. The ants and termites are captured using their long sensitive snout and sticky tongue. One species of ant they grind up with their teeth before swallowing but the other species of ant and termite upon which they prey, they swallow whole and let their muscular stomach grind them up instead. Aardvarks tend to favour ants as their main food source, but they are not readily available in the winter and so termites become their alternative. Aardvarks have a gestation period of 243 days after which a single young is produced, weighing around 1.7 kg.


Orycteropus afer

Length: 1.6 m
Weight: 38-64 kg
Social unit: Individual
Region: Africa, south of the Sahara
Status: Unconfirmed



Author: Emma-Louise Nicholls
Last updated: 20th November 2005
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Websites produced by students on the MSc Palaeobiology programme in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol for academic year 2005-6