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The three largest orders in numbers of species are Rodentia: mice, rats, porcupines, beavers, capybaras and other gnawing mammals; Chiroptera: bats; and Soricomorpha: shrews, moles and solenodons.
The next three biggest orders, depending on the biological classification scheme used, are the Primates including the apes, monkeys and lemurs; the Cetartiodactyla including whales and even-toed ungulates; and the Carnivora which includes cats, dogs, weasels, bears, seals and allies.
At the end of the Carboniferous period, this group diverged from the sauropsid line that led to today's reptiles and birds.
from Latin mamma "breast"), a clade of endothermic amniotes distinguished from reptiles (including birds) by the possession of a neocortex (a region of the brain), hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands.
The next three biggest orders, depending on the biological classification scheme used, are the Primates (apes and monkeys), the Cetartiodactyla (whales and even-toed ungulates), and the Carnivora (cats, dogs, seals, and allies).
Living mammals are divided into the Yinotheria (platypus and echidnas) and Theriiformes (all other mammals).
The marsupials constitute the crown group of the Metatheria, and include all living metatherians as well as many extinct ones; the placentals are the crown group of the Eutheria.
While mammal classification at the family level has been relatively stable, several contending classifications regarding the higher levels—subclass, infraclass and order, especially of the marsupials—appear in contemporaneous literature.