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Introduction to Mammals



Fig. 6.1. Three Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris), Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Florida

Image courtesy of David Hinkel, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

Mammals are a group of vertebrate animals. Many of the animals most familiar to humans, such as rats, cats, dogs, pigs, sheep, and cattle, are mammals (Fig. 6.1). Humans are mammals as well. In this unit, we will investigate the biology of these diverse and successful animals.

Ocean Literacy Principles

Principle 5: The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems.


Ocean Literacy Fundamental Concept: Ocean life ranges in size from the smallest virus to the largest animal that has lived on Earth, the blue whale. (OLP 5a)


Ocean Literacy Fundamental Concept: Some major groups are found exclusively in the ocean. The diversity of major groups of organisms is much greater in the ocean than on land. (OLP 5c)


Ocean Literacy Fundamental Concept: Ocean biology provides many unique examples of life cycles, adaptations and important relationships among organisms (such as symbiosis, predator-prey dynamics and energy transfer) that do not occur on land. (OLP 5d)


To build an understanding of how the ocean supports a diversity of living organisms and ecosystems, it’s important to learn about the biology of mammals.


These concepts will be explored in this unit through the following activities and investigations:


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Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawaii, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.