Caniformia

Taxobox
name = Caniforms
fossil_range = Paleocene - Recent



image_width = 200px
image_caption = Grizzly bears
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Mammalia
ordo = Carnivora
subordo = Caniformia
subordo_authority = Kretzoi, 1943
subdivision_ranks = Families
subdivision =
* Ailuridae (red pandas)
* Amphicyonidae (bear-dogs, extinct)
* Canidae (dogs and foxes)
* Mephitidae (skunks and stink badgers)
* Mustelidae (weasels, otters, badgers)
* Odobenidae (walrus)
* Otariidae (eared seals)
* Phocidae (earless seals)
* Procyonidae (raccoons, coatis, olingos)
* Ursidae (bears)

Caniformia, or Canoidea (literally "dog-like") are a suborder within the order Carnivora. They typically possess a long snout and non-retractile claws (in contrast to the cat-like carnivores, the Feliformia). The Pinnipedia (seals, sea lions, and walruses) evolved from caniform ancestors and are accordingly assigned to this group. All members of this group (with the exception of Canidae) have non-retractile claws and tend to be plantigrade. Another trait that separates them from the Feliformia is that they have more teeth. They have a longer rostrum with less specialized carnassials. They tend more towards omnivorous and opportunity-based feeding, while the feliforms are more specialized in eating meat. Caniforms have single-chambered or partially divided auditory bullae, composed of a single bone, while in feliforms the auditory bullae are double-chambered, composed of two bones joined by a septum.

Extant families

Caniformia consists of twelve families, with nine extant and three extinct. At one time, Hyaenidae were included, but are now grouped with feliforms. Caniforms are found all over the world (even when not counting dogs), even mainland Antarctica, as seals have no natural land predators so they can rest on land.

The Family Canidae (canids, commonly known as either dogs or canines) includes wolves, dogs, foxes and so on. They are the most social of all the caniforms, living in packs. The dog is the most diverse of all mammals in terms of body structure.

The Family Ursidae (the bears) are the largest of all the land caniforms. They range from the large polar bear (males, 775–1500+ lb) to the small sun bear (males, 66–132 lb) and from the endangered giant panda to the very common black bear. While generally omnivorous, ursids range from consumate carnivores to near total herbivores.

The Family Ailuridae (the red panda) was once thought to be either part of the Procyonidae or the Ursidae. It now belongs to its own family. It is found in China, but may have also lived in North America.

The Family Mephitidae (the skunks), once thought to be part of the Mustelidae, is now a group in its own right. This group is famous for its foul smell.

The Family Mustelidae (the weasels and otters) is the most diverse of the group. The members are famous for their fierce hunting instinct and (usually) streamlined body.

The Family Procyonidae (the raccoons)

The Family Phocidae (the true seals)

The Family Otariidae (the eared seals and sea lions)

The Family Odobenidae (the walrus)

Evolutionary history

The caniforms first appeared as tree-climbing, cat-like carnivores in the Paleocene (65–55 million years ago). "Miacis" was probably an early caniform.

Classification

clade | style=font-size:85%;line-height:85%
label1 = Caniformia
1 = clade
1 = Amphicyonidae
2 = Canidae
label3 = Arctoidea
3 = clade
label1 = Ursoidea
1 = clade
1 = Hemicyonidae
2 = Ursidae

2 = clade
label1 = Pinnipedia
1 = clade
1 = Enaliarctidae
2 = clade
label1 =
1 = Phocidae
2 = clade
label1 =
1 = Otariidae
2 = Odobenidae

label2 = Musteloidea
2 = clade
label1 =
1 = Ailuridae
2 = clade
label1 =
1 = Mephitidae
2 = clade
label1 =
1 = Procyonidae
2 = Mustelidae

External links

* [http://taxonomicon.taxonomy.nl/TaxonTree.aspx?id=103313 Taxonomicon]


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